Unfortunately, I didn't play all that well, committing a number of rookie errors on defense. These were the two most egregious, in that they converted what would have been a cold top for a bottom. If I'd gotten either of these defenses right, we'd have been in contention to win. As it was, we finished with a 52% game for fourth place.
First, this hand where as East, I held 63 1043 A5 AJ10986. South bid 1S after two passes and I overcalled 2C. North raised to 2S, West competed to 3C and the opponents bid 3S which Bill promptly doubled. What do you lead (and why?)
I made the only lead -- the Ace of diamonds (hoping to score one of my spades with a diamond ruff) -- that lets them make with no sweat. This is the full hand:
Declarer can always make if he guesses to lead to the Queen of diamonds and ducks on the way back. Still, most declarers in the room went down one and the doubled contract down one would have been a clear top. Instead, the doubled contract making was a clear bottom.
Rookie error #1: A simple passive defense where I don't cash or underlead either Ace is best once partner has said he holds defensive strength.
Another of the hands-that-made-a-difference was this one. Against 3NT, partner leads the 2 of hearts (fourth highest). You hold: 10872 K9 1087 Q1053. Dummy comes down with A953 QJ8 932 976 and you are ready to play the King of hearts over dummy's Queen. But declarer calls for a low heart. What do you play (and play smoothly)?
I erred, playing the 9. If declarer had the Ace, he would have called for the queen. Ergo, he must have the 10. More to the point, I have a stinking doubleton. I need to unblock the king of hearts. Beating 3NT would have been a top. Letting it make with an overtrick was a bottom. This was the full hand:
Rookie Error #2: I could have taken my time since it was, after all, the first trick where everyone takes their time whether or not their king is finessable.