In the semi-finals of the open trials, you have an awkward hand for Precision.
N-S vul, West deals. As West, you hold
Possible opening bids might be:
1♦: 11-15, 2+ diamonds
1NT: 10-12 at this vulnerability
2♥: 11-15, singleton or void in diamonds, no 5-card major, no 6-card club suit
Your distribution fits the parameters of a 2♥ opening. You do have the stiff queen of diamonds, but that is not sufficient justification for mis-describing your shape.
You open 2♥. The bidding concludes:
Your lead. 3rd and 5th leads.
If you don't lead a diamond, your stiff queen might score a trick. However, that is iffy. You don't have any other attractive lead anyway, and you won't mind getting a small ruff.
You lead the ♦Q.
Partner plays the ♦5 (suit-preference at trick 1, 5 is encouraging). Declarer wins the king, and leads the ♥2 from his hand. What do you play (UDCA after trick 1)?
Your can win the trick with your ♥9, but you don't want to be on lead. You want partner to put a trump through so declarer doesn't get a heart ruff in dummy. You don't want to have to lead trumps yourself.
You play the ♥5. Partner beats dummy's ♥8 with the jack. He leads the ♠4, declarer plays the ♠10, and you win the queen. What do you do now?
Declarer is known to have the ♥10 since partner won the jack. A heart return looks fine. If partner has the queen of hearts, that sets up your heart tricks. If partner has ♥AJx, he will get a ruff. Even if declarer started with ♥AQ10x, which looks unlikely, the heart return will not cost a trick.
You led the ♥6. Partner plays the queen, and declarer wins the ace. Declarer cashes the ace of clubs, partner playing the ♣3. He now cashes the ace of spades, partner playing the ♠6, and leads the ♠9. Do you win or duck?
Ducking will work great if partner has the jack of spades. He will put a heart through, and the defense will collect everything that is available.
On the other hand, if declarer has the jack of spades, ducking might not be so good. Declarer will stick you in with the fourth round of spades, and you might not have a good way out.
You don't like the thought of crashing partner's jack of spades. But even if that happens, it looks like you will still be able to defeat the contract.
You go up king of spades. Partner's jack comes crashing down, of course. Now what do you do?
Since you play upside-down signals, partner's ♣3 is consistent with 73 doubleton as well as singleton 3. If declarer has another club, you need to cash the king of clubs before exiting with your last spade. If you don't, you will be thrown in with the king of clubs and forced to lead a heart, giving declarer a trick if declarer started with 4 hearts. This would cost the contract if declarer's hand is ♠A1098x ♥A10xx ♦AK ♣Ax. But this doesn't make sense. Partner encouraged in diamonds, so it looks like he has the ace. More important, if declarer had Ax of clubs why would he cash the ace of clubs? He would save that for a future end-play. Declarer must have the singleton ace of clubs for his play to make any sense. You should simply exit with your last trump, saving your king of clubs for a future exit.
You choose to lead the king of clubs. Declarer ruffs and draws your last trump, partner discarding a diamond. Now declarer leads the ♥7. How do you defend?
If you win the ♥9, you can take your king of hearts but will then be forced to lead a club to dummy's Q10. Declarer will go right, playing you for the jack of clubs.
Your best bet is to lose a winner by taking the king of hearts and exiting with the ♥9. This allows declarer to win the ♥10, but he then will have to lead away from his diamonds. If partner started with A10 or AJ of diamonds, which seems likely, you will survive to defeat the contract.
You choose to win the ♥9. You cash the king of hearts, and lead the ♣9. Declarer finesses, and makes the contract. The full hand is:
West got a couple of things wrong, but he could have survived by winning the king of hearts and exiting with the ♥9.
How could declarer have done better?
All his early plays look right. At the end, however, he should have exited with the ♥10 rather than the ♥7. This would prevent West from winning the king of hearts and stuffing him back in his hand.
Do you agree with East's bidding?
East was stuck on his first bid. Anything he does could land the partnership in a 6-card fit. Passing 2♥ looks like the least of evils. If West's shape is 4-3-1-5, that's just too bad.
When 2♠ comes around to East, I think he should double. He knows his side has at least 6 trumps, maybe 7. He also knows that his side has at least 19 HCP, maybe more. South is flying blind, and doesn't know what kind of fit he will find. East knows that South isn't going to like what he sees. True, occasionally 2♠ will make, but it is much more likely to go down and could easily go down 2 or 3. It is so easy for East to breathe that big sigh of relief that he didn't have to play 2♥. But that isn't good enough. East must resist the impulse to pull the "content" card out of the bidding box. He should go for the maximum.
We use 2♥ for the short diamond hand since we play Multi. There is basically no difference between this and the normal Precision 2♦ opening, except that we don't have the option of playing in 2♦. Otherwise all the responses are the same. Many pairs are willing to open 1♦ with fewer than 2 diamonds. We believe that this puts too much pressure on the already overburdened 1♦ opening.
Plus... it's free!