With both my regular partners out of town, I was partnered in a club game by the club director. We had a good game (65%, for top position), but the reason it was great was that I was playing opposite a better player. He'd tell me when I misplayed a hand. This was one of the two hands I misplayed:
I find myself in 3H and get the lead of a club queen. East cashed his Ace, led back a club. I led a diamond toward the king. West took her Ace and led a club forcing me to ruff. Now, I led a spade toward the King.
I cashed the king of diamonds, discarding a spade thinking hazily about cashing side-suit winners before a cross-ruff. That was the wrong line for two reasons: (a) my trump spots are too low, so defenders will overruff and (b) the King of diamonds is needed to stop a forcing defense in diamonds. I went down when East overruffed dummy and kept leading diamonds. West finally got her 9 of hearts for down one.
What should I have done? I needed to take a spade finesse, giving up the spade queen. Then, pull two rounds of trumps and either discard a spade on the good King of diamonds or ruff a spade high depending on when the defenders take their Ace. In fact, it is better if I don't lead diamonds at all and immediately get to work on my spades.