This deal occurred in an IMP team match, and the auction was the same at both tables. Souths 2 NT response without a spade stopper wouldnt be seen in any textbook, but with 4-3-3-3 shape its the practical bid. It actually reaped a reward when West was dealt a normal club lead a suit he would not have led if South bid clubs giving declarer an eighth trick.
After winning the 10, declarer at one table led a diamond to Norths eight. This was the correct way to play diamonds, but it didnt help. East won the J and returned a club, won by the queen. Declarer crossed to the Q and led a second diamond to the queen, king. East now reasoned that the only hope was to find West with the A, so he led a low spade and the defense cashed out for down one. Unlucky. Or was it?
Not really. Declarer deserved his ill fate because he attacked the wrong suit. There was a legitimate chance to establish a spade trick, and with every other suit well protected he should try that first. The diamond finesse can wait. Leading a weak suit early also has the advantage of breaking up the enemy communication, which leads to more opportunities in the endgame.
Lets do it right. At trick two lead a spade; 10, jack, queen; then East returns a club to the queen. Now lead a second spade, won by the ace. West does best to shift to a diamond, which you duck to the jack; then East exits safely with a heart.
The contract is now makable, though declarer must guess correctly to do so. Ill let you work it out. It might help to lay out a deck of cards.
© 1999 Richard Pavlicek