My diamonds are good
This deal was played online in preparation for an NABC board-a-match event. In this form of scoring, a team wins 1 point for doing better than their counterparts, half point for a tie and a zero for a worse result. With both sides vulnerable, South dealt and picked up:
♠ Q ♥ A J 7 3 2 ♦ K Q J 3 ♣ A Q 10
He opened 1♥, which was passed around to his right-hand opponent, who overcalled 1♠. South doubled for takeout. LHO passed and partner took out to 2♥, doubled by RHO (again for takeout). Everyone passed, LHO converting the double to penalty. The ♠K was led.
After the ♠K, West continued with the ♠J and declarer ruffed. It seems normal to play diamonds. Declarer led a low diamond to dummy’s 10 and East’s ace. The ♥10 was returned. At least hearts weren’t 5–0, but from West’s pass of the penalty double, they were almost certainly 4–1. This means three heart losers along with the spade and diamond tricks lost. Take over. Can you take the rest?
You win the ♥A – holding up will only beget unappealing spade leads. You start to cash diamonds, throwing a club from dummy on the third round, all following, to leave:
On the final good diamond, LHO follows.
The instinct is to throw a club from dummy. However, this is sure to lead to down one. If you next play the ♣A and ruff a club, there is no safe way off dummy. LHO will get in and draw dummy’s remaining trump.
In the diagrammed position, declarer should ruff his diamond winner in dummy. Yes, you read that right. Now a club to the queen – on the bidding, this is a pretty sure thing – the ♣A and a club ruff in dummy and declarer loses only a spade, a diamond and three hearts for plus 670 and a win on the board. This was the Real Deal:
Even though the diamonds were good, declarer had to ruff his own winner to make the contract.