The bidding: This is a hand that occurred at the South Okanagan Sectional this past spring. South opens one heart and North bids her four-card spade suit. South has seven quick tricks in his hand and stoppers in the unbid suits, so he jumps to 3NT. This is a matchpoint bid because the field will be in four hearts for +420, and he hopes he can make the same tricks in No Trump for +430.
The Lead: The Four of Spades.
The play: Declarer ducks the opening lead and East wins the Queen. Note that had East won the King, he would be denying the possession of the Queen. East plays a small club, and West wins the King to return another spade. Declarer ducks and East wins the King and cashes the Ace of clubs.
On a club lead, declarer will win the third round of clubs, and if he finesses West for the Queen of diamonds, he still won’t be able to run diamonds without some sort of squeeze which is not on. He will get six hearts, one spade, one club and two diamonds for +430 and a top board.
Results: Four hearts makes for +420 and three No Trump makes for +400. The matchpoint play did not pay off here against good defense. On a club lead, probably the normal lead, however, the matchpoint play pays off.
Note: It sometimes may make a difference, but not here, that when declarer gets in, he runs his long suit and watch the opponents’ discards.