For a lot of players Slams are what Bridge is all about. They occur relatively infrequently, they are exciting and challenging to bid and play, and bring big bonuses when they make. But they also turn up the adrenaline and can be quite nerve-racking as a lot is at stake.
There is not much margin for error and on a good day you may bid a poor slam that happens to make or on a not-so-good day you land yourself in a good slam only to find there is a bad lie of the cards and you can't make it. 12 imps can easily be won or lost depending on whether it is a good or bad day and whether the opposition team has also bid the slam. And on a very bad day, both sides might bid a slam but a different lead defeats one side but not the other.
Personally I'm not a great fan of slams and I believe that winning at Bridge is more about bidding good games, being competitive in the part-score zone and good card play. Of course you should always strive to bid the good slams but many match points can be lost by overshooting to bad slams or missing the obvious slams.
Ian and Clare Fearon recently played the above hand in a teams match and both sides reached 6♥ for a flat board though there are in fact 17 tricks with many ways of collecting all the tricks as long as you draw two rounds of trumps first!
There is also a myriad of possible bidding sequences and whilst we can all see there is a laydown Grand Slam, getting there is much more difficult. The hand fits like a glove and the missing Ace of diamonds is superfluous as the void is what is key. The solid trumps are important and the spades are nice but of great importance are the clubs. If South had three small clubs and the clubs and spades didn't break kindly, 12 tricks would be the limit and this is not something that is easy to ascertain in the bidding.
The above bidding was at Ian and Clare's table with the 2NT response being the Jacoby Convention which is game forcing (at least) and promising four of partner's major. Jacoby is a good convention but there are many continuations after the initial response depending on partnership agreement. Opener distinguishes between a strong or weak opening hand and whether he has shape.
With most of my partners I play 3♣ as a strong hand with other 3 level bids showing shortage and second suit bids at the 4 level as showing length and quality suits so with the North hand I would have jumped to 4♣. South might have continued with a 4♠ cue bid. At this point North might make a 5♦ cue bid but I think that at this stage North has probably gathered as much relevant information as he can realistically expect and could now check for trump quality with a bid of 5NT.
Whatever you play, there is quite a lot of information to unravel - Having all the top trumps, that the missing Ace is diamonds rather than spades or, looking at it from South's point of view, that the void is in diamonds rather than spades. If that is not enough, South would want to know that partner holds Ace and King of clubs and North would not know the club position in South's hand. One way or another it is not possible for both North and South to know everything about one another's hand so what is important is that one of the partnership investigates and the other collaborates. The laydown Grand Slam is therefore rather harder to reach than you might think.
One criticism I would make of the above bidding sequence is that it was not collaborative. North has a strong hand in distribution and South has 19 high-card points but you can't both take control of the bidding so after the Jacoby 2NT, there was no hurry to dash to 4NT and it would have been better for North to continue describing their hand as the South hand did not need to be as strong as it was. It is very important, particularly when bidding slams, that one player is in control and the other cooperates by providing further information or answering questions. As Jacoby is game forcing there was no need to hurry.
The best way I can think of reaching a Grand Slam is as follows:
After 1♥ and Jacoby, North bids 4♣ and when South cue bids 4♠ (slam going by inference and therefore a very good hand), North bids 5NT (Grand Slam Force) and South, with two of the top three honours, jumps to 7♥. Even with this sequence the club position is not certain but partner is likely to have values to give 7♥ more than a sporting chance.
In conclusion, I would say that whilst it may be frustrating to end in 6♥ and to see at trick 1 that 13 tricks are laydown, this is not at all an easy hand to bid.