Playing a team match against competent opponents, I open 2NT (22-24 in our Precision system) and find myself in a rather routine 4S contract. North leads the King of diamonds and this is the dummy that comes down:
How do you play? This is board 14 of a 16-board match and we are 2 imps behind. So no heroics.
I take the diamond Ace, pull two rounds of trumps and exit with a diamond. North plays the 10 of diamonds but South overtakes with the Jack and leads the 9 of hearts.
I try the queen of hearts. It loses to the queen and a small heart comes back. Now what?
I had given up on the hand at that point. South overtaking the diamond and leading the the heart looked very much like a surrounding play. He must have lead from the J98 of hearts. I played low from dummy, South played the 8 of hearts and I had one more heart and a club to lose. Down 1.
Unfortunately, this was the hand:
At the other table, they went down 2, so we actually gained 2 imps on this deal. However, had I made, we'd have gained quite a bit more imps.
The mistake? Not playing to make. Yes, South's play looked suspiciously like a surrounding play, but he may have simply wanted a heart ruff -- he'd play the 9 of hearts from 98 hoping his partner had the AQ of hearts. Put another way, if South had J98, I was toast no matter what, so I had to put the 10 up from dummy.