Opening Lead: Five of hearts.
There are many Maxims in bridge. You heard about “Eight Ever, Nine Never” two weeks ago. Others are “Second Hand Low” and “Low from Interest.” I think that this one is original, but I am not absolutely sure. Here it is: “Never Play in a Suit when the Opponents have more Trump than Yourselves.”
Two of my regular partners played this deal in 4S. I asked them for the auction and they declined to tell me. They said something about it being classified? They said they would have to kill me if I was given the information!
The Bidding: The bidding in the diagram is how it went at our table. Some would open 1C with the north hand. My partner made a positive bid of 2S and we played from the wrong side with the strong hand exposed as dummy.
The Play: The opening lead was won with the queen and the ten was returned. Partner took the king, knowing that the ten was East’s last heart. The jack of spades was led and overtaken with the king. The six of clubs was led and the jack was finessed. East could have saved a trick by ducking the king, but it would have been a hard play to find. Whatever card East leads at this point gives declarer the rest of the tricks. He can use the ten of clubs to return to his hand and cash the top spade.
What Happened: Four pairs our way made 11 tricks, three made only 10 tricks and then there was the pair in 4S, going down only one. A heart may not be led if North is declarer (the case at all other tables). This makes taking 11 tricks easier, but not automatic.