I played some imp pairs online the other night with some expert friends. Here is the hand that we are still talking about:
LHO opened 3H, partner doubled, RHO passed and I bid 4C which partner raised to 5. The king of hearts was led.
I won the ace and studied the hand. I wasn't comfortable trying to get to my hand to take a club finesse, and since RHO was likely to hold the king anyway, I played the ace of clubs. LHO showed out.
The only feasible way to make the hand was if RHO had no more hearts, as was likely on the bidding. I therefore continued clubs, RHO winning the third round of clubs and returning a club. So far, so good. Now it was time to start the diamonds.
I played the ace and then the 10 of diamonds, relieved when LHO did not win the king and cash a heart. I let the diamond ride to the jack and a spade was returned. Now I am in control. With the diamond king on my right and my good diamond spots, the diamonds will be easy to set up whether RHO started with KJx or KJxx. I play a diamond from board, the king comes up on my right and I ruff it. Now I have my second spade entry to my good diamonds and am able to pitch my two losing hearts.
Plus 600 was worth quite a few imps.
Our post-game discussion has revolved around how the play could have/should have proceeded. First, the defense: When RHO wins the club king, holding up until the third round (best), he should then return a spade. This attacks my entries to the board which I need in order to both set up and then run my diamonds. If a spade is returned, I can play two rounds of diamonds, but will need to use my second spade entry to set them up with a ruff. Now they are good but I can't get to them so I have to lose two hearts and go down.
Next, the play: After the ace of clubs play reveals that LHO has none, it is best to start on diamonds immediately so as not to risk my dummy entries being attacked. The combination of the Q9 of clubs left on the board would give me flexibility in my dummy entries so as not to risk coming up short.
Happy New Year--sure hope it's warm in Monterey!
See you at the table!