At the club last night, this was an exciting deal (hands rotated). It wasn't played at my table, but a friend reported it to me:
♠ K 7 5 4
♥ Q 9 7
♦ J 10 7 4 2
♠ --- ♠ Q J 9 8 2
♥ 6 5 4 ♥ A 10 8 3
♦ 9 5 3 ♦ 8
♣ K J 9 8 7 6 4 ♣ 10 8 2
♠ A 10 6 3
♥ K J 2
♦ A K Q 6
♣ A 5
West North East South
Pass 2♠ 3NT
Pass 4♦(1) Pass 4♥
(1) Announced as a transfer to 4♥.
The bidding was a complete FUBAR. 2♠ isn't my idea of a weak-two bid. South's 3NT call shows tricks -- with a big, balanced hand, you are supposed to double and then bid notrump. What is North doing introducing his diamonds? After 4♦ was Announced as a transfer, North had unauthorized information and decided to pass.
Many North-South pairs played 4♠. Some went set, unable to cope with the 5-0 split. A couple of pairs made it in spite of the bad splits. I'll tell you in a minute what my partner and I did.
Against 4♥, West led a fourth-best club and the queen held the first trick. Declarer led to his ♥K and back to the queen. East won his ♥A. He could see he could give his partner a spade ruff; if West had a spade, she would have led it after his weak-two bid. According to Deep Finesse, this won't defeat the contract, as it happens. East also considered a club lead, but it looked as if declarer would simply ruff it in dummy (East didn't know that West had seven of them). Finally he decided to exit with a heart. Declarer won the return and began running diamonds. When East finally ruffed in, South had the rest of the tricks -- making 4♥ in a 3-3 fit! I almost wrote this up as a Rueful Rabbit deal -- maybe I should have.
I was North (the deal is rotated). At our table, the bidding was Pass Pass to my partner who opened 2NT. I have found that if you have a combined 28-30 high-card points, it often pays to just raise to 3NT, and so I did.
1. You may be off the same two tricks, even if you have a 4-4 major-suit fit.
2. After a 2NT 3NT auction, the opponents strain to lead a major, which can be good for you.
3. Sometimes you have a 4-4 major-suit fit and it splits 4-1 or even (as here) 5-0 and the path to nine tricks is easier to navigate.
Against 3NT, West led the ♣8 -- her fourth best club. The singleton ♣Q won. Declarer led a diamond to her ace, and led the ♥2 to the queen and ace. East now shifted to the ♠Q and partner won in dummy and had 12 tricks: five diamonds, two hearts, two clubs and (with a spade finesse) three spade tricks. Plus 690 was good for a 6 on a 7 top. If East hadn't shifted to a spade, partner can only make plus 660, but that would have been nearly as good -- a score of 5.5. Of course it would have been a different story if East had held the ♣K!