The above hand came up in a recent Seniors match. My team was Steve Preston, Dave Huggett, Jeremy Baker and me playing against a team from Bath.
The bidding started the same at both tables but after 3♠ I cue bid the Ace of Clubs which quickly propelled us to 6♠ whereas the other South just signed off in 4♠. In the initial bidding, after a change of suit at the two level, 3♣ was game forcing and therefore 3♠ is stronger than 4♠. The 4♣ bid therefore shows interest beyond game so the jump to 6♠ is emminently reasonable if not a bit hurried.
So much for the bidding, two different ambitions and looking at all four hands a contract of 6♠ looks very promising. However, the play was much more different than the bidding.
Against 6♠ West decided not to give anything away and led a trump. The Jack of spades appearing at trick 1 was significant as it meant Declarer and Dummy had all the top trumps. However, a trump attack also meant that any plan to ruff clubs in dummy was thwarted as the opposition would have to regain the lead and would play another trump, reducing club ruffs to one and leaving a potential loser.
A good alternative therefore was to try to set up dummy's hearts and Declarer could afford to lose one if necessary, discarding three clubs on three hearts, providing hearts broke no worse than 4-2 (or 5-1 with a singleton Queen). At trick 2 I played King of hearts but at trick 3 this plan was dashed as North ruffed, revealing an unlucky heart break. North returned another trump but with the 4-1 break in trumps, 6♠ was now impossible.
At the other table the play was completely different. On lead against 4♠ North led a small diamond. Declarer won in dummy and immediately set about the clubs. He ducked one at trick 2 but it was too late for North to find a trump switch and he continued with a second diamond. Declarer won in hand, played Ace of clubs, ruffed a club, returned to hand with a heart and ruffed his last club. Declarer now played dummy's last trump, the Queen, but when the Jack appeared from South, he was able to overtake with his Ace and draw all the outstanding trumps, the final trick being the Ace of hearts for 12 tricks.
Both opening leads were fine and either lead could have worked out better but on this occasion the trump lead was lethal. It made an incredible difference and completely dictated the line of play. Some may have selected the singleton heart and as the trumps and hearts lay, this would also have been too much for Declarer with an unavoidable club loser and either a heart or a heart ruff.
Double dummy Declarer can still make 6♠ on a trump lead by getting one club ruff and finessing the Jack of hearts but it's a very unlikely play and definitely against the odds, just happens to work!
In the event this hand provided an important 11 imp swing to the Bath team. Could have been worse though as there would have been no reason not to make the same lead against 6♠ and that would have resulted in a swing of -1030, equating to minus 14 imps.
A real devilish hand on what was otherwise a good slam with a variety of play possibilities. No justice!