What often amazes me about myself and top class players is our desire to push for game, despite the handicap of being short of a few HCPs. Give us the distribution and shape and the bidding will race away. Take this hand for instance where most of big boys reached 4H on a combined 22 count, after South had opened the bidding 1NT.
South held Q5....AK9....A532....9432 . So what would be his best opening lead ? He knows West has a good club suit, and that East ( outside his 6 card heart suit ) must have some useful values in diamonds and spades. Well, both defenders in these two stories kicked off with a cunning queen of spades ( supposedly promising the jack ). The plan here of course was to obtain a spade ruff to go alongside 3 red suit winners. And even if partner turns up with the jack, declarer might well spurn the chance to finesse him for it. This by far turned out to be the best lead possible.
So now it's over to East as declarer to steer this contract home. The East/West hands are as follows:
East : K1072...QJ7653...KQ6....(void)
Potential losers look to be 1 spade, 2 hearts and 1 diamond. So let's see what happened at my table first. I took the spade queen with the king ( spurning the unlikely possibility of finessing the jack through North ). However, I did have another plan. At trick two I volunteered the queen of diamonds, and the unsuspecting South ducked. Quickly, I shot across to dummy with the ace of spades, pitching two diamonds on the A/K of clubs. With only a spade and 2 hearts to lose the contract was made.
On another table, the declarer's story here was one of regret and misfortune. It was of course Bigot. He too took the opening lead in hand with the king of spades, but at trick 2 he chose to lead the 3 of hearts. Oops...South quickly hopped up with the Ace , cashed the King and returned the six of spades ! Bigot not surprisingly allowed this to run round to his 10, but to his horror North popped up with the jack to win the trick, and return a spade for South to ruff. With the Ace of diamonds coming next the contract was 2 off.
And what is the moral behind these 2 stories ? Well firstly, if you are in thin games, subterfuge may be your best bet to bring home the bacon. Similarly, if you are defending a contract where the only source of defensive tricks is most certainly coming from your hand, then a little subterfuge on your part might well cook declarer's goose.