Declarer showed his strong play at this hand from the Regional pairs championship. It it all look simple, but it works and brings a lot of matchpoints on board.
Just take a look at this simple, but beautiful play.
4 hearts was the datum contract in the 26-pair field. All declarers had to handle the lead of the king of spades, how would you play the hand after west have opened 1 spade?
I personally went for the “chicken” line when I took the ace at first trick, draw trumps followed by a diamond from hand. West did no mistake, he grabbed the ace and the spades holding me down at 10 tricks. A flat board was the conclusion at our table.
Our hero on the other hand found a better matchpoint play. He held back the ace at the first trick, letting the king of spades hold the trick! the queen of spades was take by the ace and he could start breathing again when east also had another spade.
When both defenders followed suit on the king and queen of hearts he had come to the next milestone at the hand. Could there be a chance for an extra trick?
If the player holding 3 trumps had 4 clubs he could discard a spade from dummy, then ruff a spade! The risk with this play was not very high. If clubs were 3-3 he would be able to draw trumps, so he continued with the ace of clubs then more clubs. When west discarded a spade at the third club he was on the tracks. Declarer discarded a spade on clubs then ruffed a spade with the jack of hearts. The defense won a trick in diamonds, but the rest was taken by declarer making 11 tricks and 95 % score.
Well deserved and very well played!