Sorry Pard, I could have held it to 2,000
This is a wild deal from the 2007 New Orleans Regional. With both vulnerable, I held:
K J 9 7 6 4
K 6 4
I opened two spades which was passed around to RHO. He balanced with 2NT. This should show a notrump hand, spades stopped, and about a king less than a direct notrump overcall (so, maybe 13-15). If you've ever taught bridge, you have to make sure your students know all the meanings of 2NT in competition (it is easy to confuse natural with takeout and to have general confusion over the ranges).
After the 2NT call, my LHO bid 3 to transfer to hearts. RHO rejected and bid 3NT (probably never such a good idea on this auction). This was passed around to my partner, Steve Weinstein. He doubled and everyone passed. What should I lead?
Such doubles typically show dummy's suit, so I led the Q. This was the full deal:
K 9 7 6 3
10 7 3
Q J 2
|K J 9 7 6 4
K 6 4
A 10 8 4 2
A K 10 8
|A Q 3
A Q J 9 5
7 5 4 3
As you can see, declarer did a lot of bidding. I can live with 2NT (yes, I see the singleton, but it was an honor). After the transfer, I think I might have tried passing! How bad could it be to play in 3? Anyway, back to the carnage. The Q held and I played another heart to partner. He played the 8 through declarer. Possibly shocked by the events so far, declarer made the poor play of the A. He tried to cross to dummy to take a diamond finesse. His play of a club was not a success. Steve won and played his other spade. I took five spade tricks and played another club. In all, we took 9 black winners and 3 heart tricks for down 8, plus 2300!
Could declarer have done better? Of course. But not much better. Even on best play, all he can get is his two aces! Say he plays low on the spade return at trick 3. Now, I cross in clubs for another spade play. My spades are set up and I have the K as an entry. We can take 11 tricks on defense for +2000. After the hand, declarer apologized, but his best technical comment would have been, "Sorry pard, I could have held it to down 7."
At the other table it went 2--P--P--P, making 4 and we won 19 IMPs. Although this wasn't the maximum swing (24), it certainly reminded me of LOSE 'EM ALL.