As a teacher, there are certain phrases I hear with dread. One of those phrases is "Drop Dead Bid", because this is almost always used incorrectly. I have made a "Drop Dead Bid" once in my life.
I was playing in the second qualifying session (out of 2) of a national pairs event with a good friend. We had a slightly below average first session, but were optimistic heading into the second set. We started the evening session with the worst 7 boards in history, with everything going against us. We needed to turn it around, leading to board 8.
I, South, picked up:
Both vul. This is the auction (roughly) with my thoughts at the time below:
(ME, THE VICTIM)
*Typical hand for me
**At least we're not playing 2
***At least we're not playing 3
****Someone has lost their mind, and I'm not willing to bet it's my opponent
! My best bid of the auction, I'm pretty confident we can beat this
!!!!!! "Drop dead, partner"
Of course we made up eventually, but that's a good example of a "drop dead" bid. They don't come up often. Bids usually show something. Sometimes we are trying to place the contract, but generally we are conveying some kind of information.
Here's an auction where you need to tell me what to do next. You are South.
What's your next call?
There are many different types of jumps: weak, invitational, strong. So how can you remember which is which? It's important to think of context and one key thought: Opening bidder can not show a weak hand. With that in mind, opener's jumps must be strong (forget about the idea of "drop dead bids"). As South, we have a great hand. Yes, it's only 11 HCP, but we have five hearts and the Q has become a very useful card since partner opened 1. Partner is worth going to game and we have shown just 4 hearts and 6 points, we've got way too much extra to stop now. I would keep bidding, and probably just use Blackwood to reach 6.
The lead is the 10. What is your plan?
We should always go through the same process as declarer, and the first step in a suit contract is to count losers. Here you have two spade losers (important to count from your hand), no heart losers, no diamond losers, and two club losers.
Next step: how do we get rid of losers? While dummy's aces and kings can help us in our loser count, we don't look at dummy's shortness until this point. We can ruff two spades as long as we hold on to two trumps in dummy. What about clubs? We can hope that East has the king, but finesses are risky propositions. Is there anything better?
Strange though it seems, you might try a diamond finesse. Wait, didn't I say finesses are risky? This one isn't! If you play low and East wins the king, then you will be able to throw two clubs on the A and Q of diamonds. If the finesse wins, then you can throw away one club on the diamond ace and only lose one club. So, you'll play low from dummy at trick one. If that wins, you can go about ruffing your spade losers. If it loses, win the return and go about ruffing your spade losers. You will always make this contract as long as spades are no worse than 5-2.
Notice I didn't say draw trump? That's the last part of our plan, and we should not draw trump on this deal until we have handled the spade suit. You could get away with drawing one round, but it creates a transportation headache. This way, after ruffing a spade, you come back to your hand with a trump both times.
The full deal: