This deal is from an important tournament in Asia earlier this year.
Light opening bids, based upon distribution, often have to "pay the piper" when no fit is found. A two-spade contract looks to be cold for North-South, but South cannot be faulted for his two no trump bid — many would have bid three no trump.
The opening diamond lead presented a clear problem for declarer. He needed his king of diamonds for an entry to the hearts and East would surely withhold his ace on the first round. Should South play the 10 from dummy, East would just cover with the jack. Declarer made an excellent attempt to solve this problem by playing the board's queen of diamonds at trick one! Should East now duck his ace, declarer could unblock the jack of hearts and then lead a diamond toward his king as an entry to the hearts and emerge with eight tricks. Should East win and return a low diamond, that would run to the board's 10 for the same result.
East was Martin Reid, a top New Zealand player, who found a neat counter to declarer's play. He won the ace of diamonds at trick one and continued with the jack of diamonds! This sacrificed a diamond trick, but it killed the entry to the hearts. South could take three heart tricks by overtaking the jack, but he could only come to seven tricks in total. Well done by both players!
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