This is Board 2 from Monday's Championship Pairs on February 16th . Most Wests were in 3NT making 11, 12 or 13 tricks. A diamond lead from North makes life easier but on our table the 2S was lead by North. How would you play the hand to make 12 tricks?
Sitting West ths is how I played the hand.and my thoughts as I played
TRICK 1 West won 2S lead by North with AS (leaving my KS as entry to table to possible heart tricks).
TRICK 2 AH won by West (mmm I only have six top tricks so need at least three more. Hearts & Clubs look like a possible source.)
TRICK 3 KH won by West (To try to unblock the suit and phew the QH dropped from North promoting three heart winners on the table)
TRICK 4 Now I had to stop and think... I cannot afford to cross to KS to make my three hearts before losing my AC otherwise North will make QS and another spade ............ so at trick 4 I must lose the AC and establish at least one Club trick........I would have prefered to lead clubs from dummy but i only have KS entry so I must lead from my hand........KC led by West losing to North's AC and establishing QC as my 10th trick.
TRICK 5 Another Spade from North won by East with KS (It does not matter which suit North leads at this stage as I still have masters in every suit)
TRICK 6 Jack Hearts from East discarding 7S from West
TRICK 7 10 Hearts from East discarding 4 Spades from West
TRICK 8 2 Hearts from East discarding JD from West
TRICK 9 Now I continued with Clubs,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Small club from West to Queen - happy that I will now confidently make 3NT plus One...............and amazingly the JC falls on my Queen making the 10 C and 9C masters in dummy.
TRICK 10 Ace Diamonds from West.
TRICK 11 King Diamonds from West.
TRICK 12 8C to 10 Clubs in East
TRiICK 13 9 Clubs master in East making 12 tricks!
West made 3NT plus 3 (12 TRICKS)
Lots of discussion about if we should have been in a slam.....................No not at all,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,just very lucky that North had two doubletons with the missing honours......................... but we all need a bit of luck sometimes..................Remember to play the cards in the right order.............lose your losers when you want to, when you still have control of the other suits..................in your mind put the missing cards where you want them to be............Sometimes they are there!