Someone remarked that one in a while I should post a hand that I played well, just so regular readers of the blog don't think I'm a total bozo.
So, here goes. I was playing with a pickup partner and of the 16 times that this hand was played, I was the only one to make 9 tricks in NT, and one of only two to bid game. See if you can make 3NT (all the bids are natural except for my negative double) -- click on "lakshmanok" to hide the other hands and click "Next" to see the opening lead:
With 9 points, a jump to 3NT seems a tad rash, doesn't it? But when the opponents both bid, you can pretty much place all the cards, and play essentially double-dummy. Here, the key thing is that the 2D is natural, not a cue-bid. And that pretty much gives me a count of all four hands -- north should have 1 spade at-most and 5 diamonds and the hearts and clubs are probably split 3-3 and 4-4.
So, the lead of the Jack diamond ran around to my queen and I can see a nice tenace against north's diamonds. I led a diamond and north covered with the 10. What do you do? I ducked, preserving the tenace against the king and a stopper against North's diamonds. North probably does best here to continue diamonds, but he erred by playing the king of spades and compounded the error by leading a club, right to my queen. I finessed diamonds to reach dummy and led the 9 of spades, covered by south with the jack and taken with the queen. Heart to dummy and lead back towards my spade honor and I had my 9 tricks.
The biggest mistake on this hand was North's. He should have fought down his urge to get into the auction with a misfit hand. And he should have stuck to leading diamonds -- his club lead was what got me trick #9. But that misdefense didn't cost since even in that case, I have enough spots in hearts to get three tricks in the suit and I have enough of a count of the hand that I will duck any spade lead from south. North's real mistake was showing me his hand by bidding too much.