North: ♠J83 ♥AJ832 ♦543 ♣K5
South: ♠K1098 ♥K954 ♦K8 ♣A84
Hand #10 at Adventures on August 28, 2018 was an excellent example of the mantra: “Do NOT cover an honor with an honor when you have nothing to promote.” South opened 1♣. North bid 1♥. South raised to 2♥ and that was the end of the auction. East led the ♦Q against heart contracts. My partner, Kathy Moyer, correctly ducked as declarer. West played her singleton the ♦A! Now West, who started with ♠Q742 ♥107 ♦A ♣QJ10976, had to decide whether to hope partner has the ♠A, and try for a diamond ruff, or hope partner was void in clubs. Our West led back the ♣Q which was not a success. Kathy took the ♣K in the North, pulled two rounds of trumps, and led a spade toward Dummy. She lost two spades (Ace and Queen) and one diamond (Ace).
Double dummy it still makes 4♥ even if West gets her diamond ruff, but it is a very complicated sequence. It involves EITHER squeezing West in clubs and spades OR end playing East, if he ducks first spade, so that East has to give a ruff-and-sluff after clubs and diamonds are eliminated from North/South hands. Going through all the permutations would be difficult and probably bore many of you.
East: ♠62 ♥A72 ♦KQ105 ♣J742
North: ♠KJ ♥Q86543 ♦8742 ♣3
Hand #1 at Adventures today was a lesson in: “Trust your partner, not the opponents.” You are North. West on your right opened 1NT. Warning: West is a “wild man” in terms of bidding. You pass. East bids 3NT and you lead the ♥5. Declarer calls for the ♥A and partner drops the ♥J, (You are playing upside-down count and attitude), while Declarer drops the ♥10. You are wondering if partner dropped the ♥J from ♥J9 doubleton or if Declarer is messing with your mind holding ♥K109 while partner had singleton ♥J. Except Declarer could guarantee THREE heart tricks if he started with ♥K109 simply by playing low at trick one and playing for split honors. So, you are assuming that Declarer started with ♥K10 and partner with ♥J9.
Declarer now plays a diamond to his ♦A, the ♦J, and a diamond to Dummy. On the third round of diamonds, partner discards the ♥K!!! What is going on?! Why would partner discard the ♥J and then the ♥K? Why would she not unblock the ♥K first and keep the ♥J to get to you? You are assuming that Declarer started with ♥109 doubleton and partner thought perhaps ♥J before ♥K was more encouraging in upside-down carding
Partner's next discard is a LOW spade—promising an honor in spades (upside-down). You follow to four diamonds while Declarer discards a low spades on the fourth good diamond. Partner discards the a low spade on the fourth round—probably showing the ♠Q—♠A is unlikely. Now Declarer plays a top club and you are feeling the pinch on the second top club. Even if your partner has the ♠Q, you feel like you need your ♠K for an entry, so you are tempted to give up a heart on second high club. However, TRUST your partner. Would your partner really discard her LAST card in your suit in notrump? Wouldn't partner have discarded the ♥K under the ♥A at trick one, keeping the ♥J to get to you, if she had only ♥KJ doubleton? But how does she know I (North) have the ♥Q you ask? Elementary my dear Watson. If Declarer had the ♥Q, he can automatically guarantee an extra heart trick by DUCKING at trick one. Therefore, your partner, looking at the ♥J and the ♥K, KNOWS that you have the Queen when Declarer flies with the Ace. (Presumbly the Rule of 11 helps out a bit as well.)
So, if you believe your partner would have unblocked with the ♥K, if holding ♥KJ doubleton originally, you are forced to conclude that partner started with ♥KJ9 of hearts and Mr. “wild man” Declarer has opened an ILLEGAL 1NT with the singleton the ♥10. Partner dropped the ♥K to start unblocking, and then got rid of the ♥K to forcefully tell you: “Keep ALL your hearts, partner! They are ready to roll.” Your partner knew at trick one (from Rule of 11) that Declarer had only ONE heart higher than your ♥5—and we saw it at trick one. So, your partner knew that you had ♥Q8xxxx of hearts, and she is desperately trying to get you to keep them all. You can let go of ONE spade—remember partner has the ♠Q—on the second high club. When Declarer plays a third club, since partner gave you count, you know she is winning the ♣Q, so NOW you can ditch your ♠K. She will lead the ♥9 to you and Declarer will go down two as he deserves for his illegal bid. [It is legal to open 1NT with a singleton ONLY if that singleton is an Ace, King, or Queen.—and even this was only recently permitted starting in 2016.] Or, Declarer can take the ♠A before playing third round of clubs and be down only one.