Join Bridge Winners
Now I Can Die in Peace*

Few things in life are less consequential than a deal from a Tuesday afternoon BBO practice match yet I have been haunted by demons this week because of such a hand. Not a night has passed when my sleep wasn't disrupted by my recurring memory of one particular deal. 

I have polled the Bridge Winners community three times this week with bidding questions on the hands from this deal but my real nightmare has been the play. I sat South. Imp scoring. Opponents are world class. (* West is a baseball nut. I grew up in the Boston area.)

North
AQ10xx
7
xxx
A108x
South
xx
Q1096xx
xxx
Qx
W
N
E
S
1
P
P
X
P
P
2
P
P
X
P
P
P

I chose to bid 2H, thinking (accurately, at least as the cards lay) that my hand was worth zero tricks in 1S. Over 80% of those responding to my poll passed 1S doubled.

It was also suggested that I might have initially responded 1N and that doing so might have avoided the axe. It likely would have as over 80% of those responding (including the actual West) would not have doubled 1N with the West hand.

But I did and I didn't so there I am in 2H doubled. The opponents play standard leads and carding and the opening lead is the DQ. East plays DA then DK and switches to a small heart. I insert the HT which loses to the HJ. East persists with two more diamonds while East pitches a middle spade and a small club. I pitch a spade on the fourth diamond and ruff in hand. If hearts are 3-3 my play is not likely to matter but if they are 4-2, Hx is twice as likely as 8x so I exit with a small heart on which I pitch a club as West wins the H8 and East follows. Here comes the fifth diamond, I pitch a spade and East goes into the tank emerging with a second spade. I ruff.

Here is the remaining position:

North
AQ10
A10x
South
xx
Q9
Qx

I lead a heart and West plays the HA. I need to find a pitch from the dummy. Assuming East is following with the HK (he does), I need to guess the position to get out for -500 (no big loss assuming my teammates bid and make 3N -they did.)

I thought it looked like East had started with 6322 or 5323. What inference was there that West had led diamonds? Maybe he didn't have any spades? But the lead of the DQ from DQJTxx looks pretty normal. If West started with xAJ8QJTxxKJxx then I can pitch the ST, win the SA, play a club to my CQ and on the forced club return finesse the CT. I decide this is my best play. 

West exits with the SJ. That is annoying as I could have kept the ST but I continue with my plan. SA and club to the CQ. West wins and exits with a second spade! Here is the original deal:

West
Jx
AJ8
QJ10xx
Kxx
North
AQ10xx
7
xxx
A108x
East
K96x
Kxx
AK
J9xx
South
xx
Q1096xx
xxx
Qx
D

East had sat for 1S doubled on SK964. I just could not imagine that was the position. Note that East was "right" and would have collected +800 on normal play. When polled, 15% of you said you would pass 1S doubled. (After the play was over I wrote, "K9xx?" to which West responded, "Its a Zia thing.")

In order to end my anguish I need to analyze the deal to the point that there is nothing left to think about. What should I have done in the play?

Your play was fine
You should have double finessed the spades
You should have played East for the CJ, pitched a club and endplayed East
Other

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