It is not often that 26 IMPs swing on a 1-level contract. Geir Helgemo, one of the world's best declarers, talks about his favorite hand of the 2012 Spingold, where he turned -1000 into +760 in 1NT redoubled.
Helgemo actually thought that redouble of 1NT was takeout. His partner, Tor Helness, believed he already showed his hand by passing 1♠ and thought the redouble was business. Either way, there they were in 1NT redoubled on Board 58 of the 2012 Spingold Final in a tight match.
1NT is often one of the most difficult contracts to defend in bridge, and this hand is a perfect example. First, Bobby Levin had a difficult problem at trick one. Should he win the ♠A or duck to keep communication? He elected to duck, and not play partner for specifically Q10 doubleton.
Helgemo, with one trick in the bag decided to eschew the straight forward line of playing for hearts 3-3 with the queen onside. Instead he opted for the deceptive play of attacking his weakest suit and led a diamond off dummy to his concealed ♦108.
Should Levin split his honors? It seems that it is probably right, as declarer is most likely 3424 (and even with ♦K10x declarer might play the 10 anyway). Here, if he played the ♦J it would have won, and greatly clarified the position for the defense..
Then, what order should Levin cash the spades? He initially played ♠J, ♠A, and his partner pitched the informative ♣J. Should he play ♠3 or ♠7 first? ♠7-♠3 would tend to indicate diamonds and ♠3-♠7 clubs.
On the ♠7 Weinstein pitched ♥8. This commits the defense to cashing out now. Was this the right discard?
Levin, who appeared concerned that he was squeezing his partner, did not cash the last spade and shifted to the ♣3, playing his partner for ♣KJ10(x) and something like ♥J8xx. This appears misguided as Weinstein would probably pitch a diamond if he didn't have another honor in diamonds.
Helgemo was now in full control and took the heart finesse, cashed a high heart and promptly claimed.
Plus... it's free!