Rare deals like this can be the most fun to play, but they can also break your heart.
If you think North’s raise to five spades was too aggressive, imagine South’s red-suited hands reversed. Or the king of hearts leads instead of the queen of diamonds. It was very close. The five-spade contract looked pretty safe, even after West found the best suit to lead. What could happen?
Erik Berg from Norway sitting in the east is what happened! South, we are told, took some time to decide on his call after the auction of five swords. This convinced Berg that South did not have two low diamonds. South played low from dummy with the opening lead of diamonds and Berg brilliantly won the trick with his ace and returned the two of clubs. West ruffed and traded the king of hearts.
South won with dummy’s ace and only had to find the queen of spades to make his contract. No doubt he was a bit taken aback by the dazzling early defense, and that might have affected his game. South could not know that West had a five-card side suit in addition to his long hearts. After much thought, South chose to cash in the ace of spades and lead one of spades to dummy. Down one! Congratulations to Berg for his excellent defense.