In the round of 16 of the open trials, you must find the best way to compete vs. a strong club.
Both vul, East deals. As West, you hold:
1♣: Strong and artificial
You play CRASH vs. strong club. Double shows reds or blacks. 1♦ shows majors or minors, 1NT shows pointed or rounded. Other calls are natural.
You do have 6 hearts, and a 2♥ or higher call takes up more bidding room. On the other hand your clubs are strong, and clubs may be the suit with which to compete. Clearly 1NT is safer if the hand is a misfit. If partner has the right sort of hand he may be able to make a 3-level pass or correct bid which will make life difficult for the opponents. It looks like the CRASH 1NT call is better.
You bid 1NT. The bidding continues:
2♦: Natural game force
Have you done enough?
You have quite a bit more playing strength than you might have. The opponents have game-forcing values and you are void in spades, so it is unlikely that you will be doubled at the 3-level and go for too large a number. This is a big CRASH hand, and you are worth another call.
Your hearts are longer. In order to convey this message to partner, the slower route of 2NT is the way to go. 3♣ would imply that your clubs are better. Double would probably mean that your suits are equal and that you have diamond tolerance also, likely 0-5-3-5 shape.
You bid 2NT. The bidding continues:
Have you had enough?
You are done. You have no reason to think that you can defeat 5♠, since partner might be broke and you don't know how many clubs will cash. On the other hand, you have no reason to think that 5♠ is making, and a 6♥ save might be a phantom. You have described your hand pretty well, and if there were action to be taken partner would have taken that action.
You pass, ending the auction.
Your lead. Your agreements vs. 5-level and higher contracts are that the lead of a king asks for standard count, lead of an ace asks for standard attitude.
Obviously you will lead a high club. Count figures to be of the most value here. You may need to know whether or not a second club is cashing, and if it does cash what to do from there. Attitude isn't likely to be as important.
You lead the ♣K.
Partner plays the ♣8 (standard count), and declarer the ♣10. Naturally you cash the ♣A. Partner plays the ♣3, and declarer the ♣Q. What do you do next?
Partner's play in the club suit would be consistent with an initial holding of 83 doubleton or J873. He would naturally play his smallest club (standard current count) on the second round of clubs.
Can continuing clubs promote a trump trick if partner has a doubleton club? Possibly. He could conceivably have queen-doubleton, although that doesn't seem very likely from the bidding. J10x would be a live possibility. 1087x would also do the trick. Declarer would have to have a stiff ace of diamonds for it to matter. Is this consistent? Something like ♠Qxxxxx ♥AK ♦A ♣QJ107. Declarer would have had to be alert to falsecard appropriately in clubs, but a good declarer is certainly capable of that. This would leave partner with something like ♠J10x ♥J109xx ♦J10x ♣xx. Would he bid 5♥ with that? He might very well, knowing that your primary suit is hearts.
Can continuing clubs turn out badly? It certainly could, if declarer is 2-2 in the minors -- something like ♠QJxxxx ♥AKx ♦Ax ♣Qx. This would leave partner with ♠xxx ♥Jxxx ♦xx ♣Jxxx. Is this a 5♥ call? It could very well be opposite a heart-club 2-suiter. There is zero defense against 4♠. 5♥ might be a decent save, might push the opponents to 5♠ down 1, or might obstruct their slam decision.
Which should you play for? It isn't totally clear, but it is probably better to exit safely with a heart and hope declarer has a doubleton diamond. The reason is that for the club continuation to be a winner not only must declarer have 4 clubs but he also must have one of the trump holdings which is vulnerable to a promotion. For the club continuation to be wrong all that is needed is for declarer to be 2-2 in the minors.
You choose to continue clubs. Declarer discards a diamond from dummy and ruffs in his hand. He plays ♠Q, and a spade to dummy's ace. He then leads the ♦Q. Partner plays the ♦10, declarer the ♦J, and you win your king. What do you return?
It is clear that declarer started with ♦AJx. If he had a doubleton AJ, he would have ruffed your club return in dummy, discarded his ♦J, and he would easily have been able to ruff any losing hearts in dummy. You should simply lead a diamond, giving partner a ruff.
You wrongly shift to a heart. Declarer easily claims. The full hand is:
Do you agree with North's pull of the double?
North's hand does look offensively oriented. However, North has already shown heart shortness. Suppose one of North's diamonds were a heart, and instead of doubling South had made a forcing pass. It would be clear for North to double, since he really doesn't have anything over and above what he has shown. Therefore, it follows that while North would certainly not double if South had made a forcing pass, when South doubles North should sit since he doesn't really have anything extra other than a void instead of a singleton. South can make a sensible evaluation opposite North's known shortness, and if South is trying to shut North up North should respect this decision. Bidding 5♠ was quite costly, turning +500 into -100.
Do you agree with East's bidding?
East could have made a pass or correct bid of 2♥, but that wouldn't do any damage to the enemy bidding. If West could be 5-4, making the pass or correct bid at the 3-level might wind up going for too big a number, particularly if West happens to have diamonds and spades.
Once East found out that West was willing to commit to the 3-level by himself, taking the 5♥ save looks fine. East knows that 4♠ has to be cold, and 5♥ probably won't go for more than 500 and certainly not more than 800. The 5♥ call could cause the opponents to take a losing action.
If East knew he would be catching a 5-card suit in his partner's hand, he could have reasonably safely bid 3♥, pass or correct, over 2♦, taking away a lot of bidding room for N-S. It is for this reason that I believe CRASH calls should be reserved for hands which are at least 5-5. It isn't the CRASH bid which does the damage. It is the pass or correct bid by the partner of the CRASH bidder in front of the strong club hand which causes opponents problems. You want to be able to make this pass or correct call as high as possible, and if you know you will be finding partner with at least 5-5 you can be much more liberal. With a 5-4 hand, just overcall the 5-card suit, and if that doesn't strike gold, forget it.
Plus... it's free!