♠ J974 ♥QT82 ♦Q4 ♣T87
Nobody was vulnerable, and my RHO dealt and opened 1D. I passed, of course, and surprisingly, LHO did too. Partner doubled, and RHO passed. I had my first decision of the hand. The bridge books will tell you to bid up the line in all situations with 4-4 in the majors, but I feel strongly that this is an exception. Lots of times your partner will cuebid 2D over your 1H holding something like
♠ AQT3 ♥AJ3 ♦A5 ♣KJ94
and you won't know whether to 'reverse' into spades trying for your (possibly nonexistent) 4-4 fit there, or to rebid 2H to try to get out cheaply. So I advocate starting with 1S on this handtype, leaving yourself an easy 2H call on the next round. Here's a good rule that I always try to follow: Don't make your first bid until you've planned your second bid.
So I bid 1S, LHO passed, and partner leapt to 3S. I figured I had a lot more than I could on this auction, so bid the game. LHO led the nine of diamonds, and I saw
Pard had a great 19-count with a side stiff and four-card support, but I'm still not cold for 4S. Maybe this should make me rethink my "automatic" raise to 4S... but first I have to think about making this hand. From the lead, it looks like diamonds are 2-5. I have a diamond and probably two clubs to lose on top (LHO most likely wouldn't pass 1D with the club ace, so unless RHO has AJ tight, I have a second loser there). There's also a possible trump loser, and then there's the problem of it all adding up to ten tricks...
I played low from dummy at trick one, and RHO played an encouraging diamond spot (pretty much confirming the 2-5 break there). I won with the queen in hand and led a heart to the ace. It seemed like the best way to get up to ten tricks was to ruff diamonds in hand. In order to avoid a trump loser, I'd need the doubleton queen in opener's hand. So I led a low diamond off the table. RHO won with the ten (LHO following with the eight) and led a low diamond (usually the right play-- he didn't want to lead the ace, have me ruff high, then draw trumps and get a pitch on the good diamond king). I played loser-on-loser, pitching the seven of clubs. LHO ruffed in and led a club to the king and ace. Now RHO played the ace of diamonds to squash the king. I ruffed with the jack and was thrilled to see LHO pitch a club. Almost home! I led a spade to the ace (three, eight) and led two rounds of clubs. RHO followed to both of them, so I ruffed with the nine -- LHO pitched again. So clubs were 3-3 and the little club on the table was good. All that was left was to try to draw trumps-- low, low, king, queen! My two small black cards in dummy were good. Making four. Here's the whole hand:
When I started out declaring this hand, I certainly wasn't planning on ruffing out my 4-3 club fit for my tenth trick...