Sometimes we encounter strange distributions and this hand is an extreme example!
N has a choice of bids right from the outset. He has 18HCPs and a lovely heart suit. Some will judge the hand as having 8 playing tricks in which case it will be opened with 2Cs (Benji) or 2H (strong 2). As we will see the opening bid and first response will dictate the bidding on both sides.
I will concentrate first on those who do not play strong twos or who decide that the hand is a little short of requirements (a justifiable view). Now N will open 1H passed by E.
S should pay careful attention to the value of his hand notwithstanding a paltry 7 HCPs. The hand has 6.5 losers with hearts agreed as trumps. There is also a void. With a queen heading 4 in the trump suit creating the half loser, S may well regard the hand as 6 loser only. Easily enough for game.
Once this analysis is made a Splinter of 4D is an obvious first response. You should note in passing that the same bid would be made over a strong 2H opening by N. Assuming this bid is made, you have to feel for W! There is one thing in his favour and this is vulnerability.
What should E do? A bid of 5Ds with his 6 loser hand in the knowledge that S has a singleton diamond at most. But where are the remaining diamonds? it is also clear on the bidding that E has little high card strength. With 4 obvious losers, a penalty of 500 or more is highly likely. Too much….at least against a game and a slam looks remote as he holds 3 top tricks. The better option is to double 4Ds for a lead.
From the perspective of N, the Splinter removes at least one loser leaving him now with 5 opposite an assumed 7 in the S hand. With 4 card support for hearts also there, the heart loser almost certainly goes too. He would love to know more of S’s hand. In particular, he needs to know whether the diamond splinter is a singleton or a void. He should now bid 4S to show AS. 5Hs looks safe if the news is poor.
S will now bid 5Ds to show first round control but missing AC. N will now bid 6Hs knowing his partner must have points somewhere and on the reasonable prospect of eliminating his spade losers. 6Hs is lay down.
Now let us go back to an opening Benji 2Cs. The world changes! S will now “relay” with 2Ds allowing W into the auction at a much lower level. 3Ds looks right followed by 3Hs from N to show the heart suit. Notwithstanding his absence of any HCPs, E is pretty certain to support diamonds. There must be 11 of them so suggesting 5Ds in an attempt to interfere and a reasonable chance of a good result (3 off as it happens).
S should be undaunted. He makes the same analysis of his hand as set out above, adds extra value to his void, and bids 6Hs. W has now got to be tempted to double. His 3 top tricks look good. 7Ds is very expensive! Either decision works out badly with the pass the correct option.