Listen and lead by Ioan Bob (Romania)
With everybody bidding so accurately now a days, finding a good lead becomes more and more important. The next hand is a typical example:
E/W Vul. Dealer South.
S Q74 S JT9652
H 98 H AKQ6
D J9742 D -
C K97 C QJ4
At most tables, where East enjoyed a passive club or heart lead in his spade game, he made ten tricks whenever he managed to cut the defenders' communications by playing three rounds (if necessary) of clubs.
I kibitzed the board at the Austria-Norway table. The Austrian bidding, in their variation of the Blue Club:
West North East South
Pass 1D 1S Dbl
2S 2NT 4S Pass
Pass Dbl Pass Pass
Terraneo opted for a forcing defense by leading a small diamond to the Ace, ruffed by East. Fearing three rounds of spades, if he played trumps himself, declarer started off with the HAK and a small heart. He ruffed this with dummy's Queen, apparently hoping for either a miracle in the heart suit or for the S8 being with South.
As the cards lay, North could over ruff the fourth heart with his S8, so the contract duly went one down, 200 to Austria.
A better chance than this too hasty (to my taste, at least) line is to start on clubs. Considering the bidding and opening lead, North should hold 14-15 HCP, most probably the DAQ and the black Aces, because he bid 2NT freely.
With only 13 HCP, SAK and DAQ, and two suits wide open, Feichtinger would surely have passed 2S. If so, declarer has to postpone the ruff and play clubs to disrupt adverse communications, while creating his own.
Obviously, the defense still prevails if North ducks the Queen and Jack of clubs; I am sure that Feichtinger is old enough to have done so. But even then, declarer can make his game if North is careless.
He plays another round of clubs and ruffs the probable diamond return. Now, a trump from his hand leaves Terraneo with no option but to pump East again. After the third diamond ruff, this would be the position:
S Q7 S JT
H 98 H AKQ6
D J9 D -
C - C -
Declarer can continue with the HAK and a heart ruffed with the Queen. If North over ruffs, it's the end of the road for the defense as East is fully in command of the trump suit.
Is there a lead which gives declarer no chance at all, no matter how hard he strives? Of course, the trump King! Could Terraneo have found it? Frankly, yes, had he respected partner's 2 NT bid.
As far as I know, the only declarer to receive a trump
lead was a Czech in the Open Room against Romania; but the hand
was played from the other side of the table and that made things much easier for the defense. North led a small trump away from the Ace. How the board ended for the Romanians is, regretfully, another story.