With both sides sharing the points, it seemed odds on that a game contract was going to be a stretch.......but no....the bidding got so lively Johnny found himself in 6S doubled with West having pushed him all the way in diamonds.
On the Ace of diamonds lead, dummy came down with a disappointing : Jx....Jxxx....xxx....J109x
Johnny looked at his AKxxxx....AQx...void......Axxx, initially estimating a 10 trick haul with likely losers in spades, hearts and clubs.
West held : Qxx.....K.....AK109xxx....KQ
East Held : xx....xxxxx......QJx.......xxx
The play was swift and exquisite. The Ace of diamonds was ruffed in hand. A low spade ( ducked By West ! ) with dummy's jack taking the trick. Two rounds of trumps, followed by the ace of hearts dropping West's stiff King ! Then came two top hearts, followed by the Ace of clubs felling West's queen ! So after conceding a club to the King, Johnny claimed..... with nothing left....... other than black suit winners.
So I asked Johnny how he arrived at this line of play.
" Well ", he said, " I knew on the bidding West had all the points .....bar a bit in diamonds.....based on the bidding and his greedy double. No doubt he thought he had a spade and club winner, and possibly a heart. So a huff was called for.....and a low spade away from my AK towards dummy's jack would now offer him an irresistible temptation. Might not a reasoning West believe that East had to hold the stiff Ace of spades ? Therefore it could be good sense to duck, because now the defence can take two trump tricks. Moreover, if the jack did hold then surely declarer would seize the opportunity to take the losing heart finesse. A win-win situation.
Thankfully, West failed the test and the huff worked. Then came the Ace of hearts simply because West had to hold the King, and this do-or-die play had everything to gain...... and nothing to lose, as one could see from the result. Again playing the Ace of clubs catered for either West holding a stiff honour or the doubleton KQ. Long odds I know....but looking to finesse East for a club honour required two entries to dummy which I did not have. "
So was this making slam down to luck ? Or down to simple logic ? Or down to pure class ? All I know is that when kibitzers say " That Johnny...what a player...what a man " I'm most obliged to agree with them.