Hand of the Week
Jeff Meckstroth is properly regarded as one of the best bridge players in the world. This deal, from the 1999 Cavendish, won him an award for best-played hand of the year. Meckstroth was South.
West led the ♥A and another heart after Meckstroth had opened on very light values.
Meckstroth immediately formed a picture of the West hand – four spades, six diamonds, a probably singleton club honor (no club lead) and likely split diamond honors (no high diamond lead).
At trick three, Meckstroth led his singleton club, won the return of the ♠Q in dummy, and advanced the ♣Q, covered and ruffed. This was the ending:
Meckstroth was on lead as South, needing six more tricks. As you can see, playing on diamonds does not work. East will take the trick and draw a round of trumps. Ruffing a spade in dummy brings you to eight tricks, but not to nine.
Meckstroth found the spectacular coup of leading the ♠10 from hand!
If West takes the trick and leads either spade back (a diamond is no better), declarer wins in hand, pitching a diamond from dummy. He plays the ♦A, ruffs a diamond, ruffs a club and leads a losing heart to endplay East into leading a club from the 10-8 into dummy’s J-9.
West actually ducked the ♠10, hoping his partner had the king. That let Meckstroth cashed the ♠K to pitch a diamond, cash the ♦A and ruff a diamond. He then scored the ♣J and ruffed a club for nine tricks and an award from the International Bridge Press Association.
The full deal: