♣ The above hand appeared in the Awbridge duplicate pairs and is one of the most crazy hands I have seen and it was not even computer generated!
I watched it being bid and played at three tables but I'm quite sure that if it was played at a hundred tables, everyone would have done something different!
At the first table East opened 1♠. Personally I would have opened 2♣. Anyway, after a pass by South, West jumped to 4♣ which I presumed was a splinter. I went round to have a look and was amazed to see nine clubs and four diamonds. I was busy wondering why West would pre-empt with this hand, especially opposite partner's opening bid. However it soon became apparent that 4♣ was intended as Gerber to which East answered 4♥. West then continued with 4NT. I don't know what that was meant to be but East replied 5♣ which West raised to 6♣. East now went into a short huddle and bid 6♠, the final resting place. Fairly quickly Declarer went five down for a score of minus 250.
I couldn't resist following the board to the next table where the bidding started the same with 1♠ but there the similarities ended. South decided to jump to 3♦, possibly a little dubious at this vulnerability. West continued quietly with 4♣ but then North piped up with 4♥. East quickly reached for the double card but just as quickly South continued uneasily to 5♦ and West then also pulled out the double card which ended the auction. 5♦ doubled went for 1400.
Without making it too obvious, I loitered near the next table to see what they would make of all this. This time East opened 1♥ followed by a pass and West jumped to 5♣. East now bid 5♠ which was passed out and went three off.
Unfortunately I didn't witness any of the other auctions but inevitably I was asked how I would have bid the two hands. Well for starters I would have opened 2♣ on the East hand as it has huge playing strength. As West I would bid 3♣, obviously a game forcing situation so no need to jump anywhere at this stage. East would bid 3♠, West would continue with 4♣ and East would now bid 4♥.
Much as I would like to ask for Aces, no suit has been agreed and I would worry that some partners might pass this. Without any easy way of finding out about the Ace of clubs, I would probably jump to 6♣ and have done with it.
As for the play and being in the right spot, you might as well be spinning the roulette wheel. On my auction, East would be Declarer so South would be on lead. North may have made a 'Lightner Double' asking for South to make an unusual lead, hoping his partner will find a diamond lead for him to ruff. That would result in 6♣ doubled probably going three down, an initial diamond ruff, the Ace of trumps and two more diamond losers. However, if South leads a heart or a spade, Declarer has the possibility of discarding all four of his diamonds and losing just the Ace of trumps, though he might not be aware he needs to do this - He might just discard two diamonds and when South gets in with the Ace of trumps, he might lead a diamond and give his partner a ruff.
For anyone playing in clubs from the West hand, a trump lead would kill the contract as Declarer would have no access to dummy. On a major suit lead, Declarer has a similar opportunity to discard all his diamonds on Ace of spades and Ace, King, Queen of hearts, South ruffing the Queen of hearts with the Ace of trumps! But again, would Declarer really know he had to do this? If he throws two diamonds, he probably thinks it is now time to draw trumps but South wins the Ace and can give North a diamond ruff.
What about a dubious contract of 6NT? On a heart lead, Declarer throws a couple of diamond losers but maintains vital access with that valuable singleton diamond. Obviously North can't lead a diamond as he doesn't have any but a club lead would destroy 6NT providing South continues with a diamond.
At the table where South played in 5♦ doubled I was amused to see the opening lead of the 5 of clubs, the first time I've ever seen a lead of 9th highest!
Interesting when you realise that with this incredible hand, on correct defence, any slam is impossible and the only game that can be made with reasonable ease is 3NT but it would be inconceivable to play there. The most likely game contract is 5♣ which is easy to let through at the table. However, if you can see all four hands, the only way to make it against perfect defence is quite incredible.
A heart or spade lead by North concedes the contract at trick 1, obviously a diamond lead is not possible so it has to be a club lead. South wins with his Ace and best defence is to play back the Queen of diamonds. If North ruffs he has to play a heart or spade and Declarer makes his contract. North therefore refuses to ruff so Declarer now draws the outstanding trump. The key play now is to exit with a low diamond. South wins but whatever diamond he returns, Declarer can now make his 9 to make his contract so 5♣ cannot be beaten on optimum defence and Declarer play.