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Technique or psychology?

The following hand came up in the German Teams Championship last weekend:

North
AJ103
AK86
542
Q2
South
K92
J52
AKJ109
108
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
3NT
P
P
P

Sitting South, you are declaring 3NT after a basic Stayman sequence. The opening lead is the 3 (the opps play 2./4. against NT, but always high from a doubleton). This kind of hand can be frustrating when you go down because there is an abundance of chances and the contract can almost certainly be made in some way. Of course one can conduct a purely technical analysis about how best to combine the chances in spades and diamonds.

But I am also interested in practical considerations. East did not double the 2 bid, and West did not lead a club. When dummy comes down, it is probably not clear to them yet that your clubs are wide open. There may be a way to establish nine tricks (perhaps in a technically inferior line) which keeps the opponents in the dark and thus might work even if you lose the lead at some point.

It turns out that the practical analysis must start right with the opening lead, regarding the issue of running the heart trick to the jack in our hand. Not only does this risk going down instantly if East holds the Q; winning the heart lead in dummy might also tempt them to continue hearts later on. But there is no guarantee that this will work, and on the other hand, an additional heart trick might be important in some cases.

What is your line? Are you prepared to reject the technically best line in favor of potentially better practical odds? And, when you have made up your mind, how far are you prepared to go if you see a chance of overtricks? Thanks for your opinions.

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