NC dealt and opened the South hand 1♠, eschewing the more obvious Strong 1NT. AP sitting West jumped in with 3♦, nicely describing his hand. JW sitting North likes the Spades but holds back and bids only 3♠. I was sitting East. I thought there was a decent chance that my partner meant 3♦ as a strong hand, so I felt I ought to support him. No bid seemed right (a good indicator you should pass), but nonetheless I pulled out a bid of 4♦. South has a flat average hand with lots of defence so should pass this, but instead bid 4♠. West should then also pass, having shown his hand the first time with 3♦, but instead bid again with 5♦. North now had a think, and rather than passing (then partner doubles), he bid a reckless 5♠. That's four bids in a row, one from each player, where I think they should have passed but instead they bid. Finally, I ended the auction with a double, delighted to have avoided playing 5♦x (four off, -1100).
NC was declarer in the high pressure contract of 5♠x. West began naturally enough with a top Diamond, then switched to a Club, and I took my ♣A and returned a Diamond, ruffed in dummy. Declarer now needs the rest. You can see that with the Club and Spade finesses working he should be OK, as long as he can arrange entries to dummies to finesse in both suits. NC was already in dummy with the Diamond ruff and duly finessed in Spades, three times, finally snaring my useless ♠K. He could now cross to the ♥A and finesse in Clubs, risking going two off it loses. Instead he cashed all his Heart winners and the ♣K, finishing in hand. He got down to just one card left, and I was sitting East deciding which I should keep - the top remaining Heart or the top remaining Club? I had a think and shrewdly worked that declarer must have a Heart left, so chucked away my master Club. Except, of course, I was wrong, declarer had one more Club and duly scored the ♣T to make 5♠x. Big points to NC and JW.
Not sure how I miscounted. I was sure partner only had two Hearts, leaving declarer with four. One of them went missing somewhere!
With that big score NC and JW took an unassailable lead in the week.
Clearly we were shuffling well because this was the next hand:
How do you get to 6♣?