This deal from the second final session of the Nail Life Master Open Pairs produced numerous points of technical and practical applications.
First, when West opens 1NT should North overcall? My money says no, but I’m getting old. If, as happened at the table, North bids 2 (diamonds and a major), transfer lebensohl works far better than the regular variety: 3 shows hearts, invitational or better, to get 4 played by West.
At the table, West played 3NT. North continued his aggressive campaign by leading the J, and West won the K. Now for the second technical point: There is a 100% safety play available in clubs – but only if you know one player cannot be short in clubs. In this case, you do. Lead low to the ace to guard against J 9 6 2 with South, it being highly unlikely that North has four clubs. It doesn’t matter in this case, of course.
When you run your clubs, North pitches on heart, two spades and a diamond. South also discards diamonds so you can cash three diamonds to reach this ending:
Now West can exit with the 6, and if South wants to take her partner off the end play, she had better overtake and shift to a heart!
The last technical point: par on this deal is minus 650 (11 tricks in hearts by West). You protect the K and on a diamond lead win and cash the diamonds to discard a spade from dummy. Now, if you believe the K is wrong based on the auction and are playing against a South who would never duck the K, cross to dummy and lead a heart to the 9. North wins the J to play the A and another spade. You win in hand and pass the Q to pin South’s 10. It’s a classic intra-finesse.