On this deal from the Seniors Bowl in Estoril, Portugal, last fall, Alan Sontag could have been defeated with a different lead. His opponent did what many players would do, however, and Sontag took full advantage. Sontag was South.
A note about the bidding: 2♦ is the Multi convention, common in high-level events, showing a weak two-bid in either major. East’s 2♠ response sent this message: “If your suit is spades, I don’t want to get any higher than the two level. I’m willing to go higher, however, if your suit is hearts.”
Knowing that East likely held heart length, was more conservative in the bidding than he might have been in different circumstances.
West could have defeated the contract by leading the ♦Q, but he made a more-or-less normal choice of his singleton club. That was enough to allow Sontag to get home with 10 tricks, but he had to play with inspiration (not unusual for a player of Sontag’s caliber).
Sontag took the ♣J lead in hand with the ace, then played the ♥A and the ♥;9. East won the ♥K and got out with a club to dummy’s queen as West discarded a spade.
Sontag ruffed a spade to hand and, confident that East had the ♦A, ran his trumps to reach this position:
On the final trump, Sontag pitched a low diamond from dummy, but what could East do? If he discarded a club, Sontag would play the ♣K and another club, discarding spades from dummy, putting East in. The ♦K would score at trick 13.
When East instead discarded a diamond, Sontag played a diamond from hand, ducking to East’s bare ace. East had only clubs left, and when he played the ♣10, Sontag ducked. East was left on play with the ♣9 7 while Sontag sat over him with the ♣K 8. That was 10 tricks for plus 620.
The full deal: