South in today’s deal was American expert Josh Donn. Donn played this deal beautifully, only to find out that any bridge player could have made the contract by inferior play. Virtue had to be its own reward for Donn, but we can admire his play.
West had been uncomfortable in the auction, acting like he wanted to bid something over three no trump. East played a discouraging spade at trick one and Donn decided that West likely had A-Q-10-x-x of spades. There was a certain diamond loser, and if that trick had to be lost to East, a spade return by East would have defeated the contract. Donn ducked the opening lead and let the queen win. West shifted to the queen of clubs and now clubs became the suit to worry about. Should East win the diamond, this time a club return would defeat the contract. Donn had to build one more trick before going after his five diamond tricks, so he won the king of clubs in dummy and led a spade to his king!
West won with the ace and cleared the spades, but the contract was now safe provided that the diamond trick could be lost to East. Ace and another diamond accomplished just that and Donn claimed his contract. West’s singleton king of diamonds was most annoying. Any declarer could have made this contract by winning the opening spade lead and leading a diamond, letting West hold the king when he played it. Oh well. Very nicely played!