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Declare 7NT - the actual layout and the subtle mistake I made

As referenced in an earlier post, you must declare 7NT on the Nine of diamonds lead.  You've had an entirely uninformative auction so the opponents are leading blind:

West
AKJ9
KQ94
A10
AJ2
East
84
A7
KQJ642
Q73

At the table, I adapted a slight variation of Alvin Bluthman's line:  I won the Ace of diamonds, cashed the Ace of clubs and the AK of spades, then ran diamonds coming down to this position:

West
J
KQ94
East
A7
2
Q7

I figured I could make 7NT if the Queen of spades falls doubleton, if the King of clubs falls singleton, if the person with the King of clubs also holds four hearts, or if South has the Queen of spades and four hearts or, if all else fails, JT(x) of hearts falls.

But I made a very subtle error.  I wanted to see if anyone else would catch it.  Alvin fell into the same trap I did.

If you're going to decide to cash the black winners in dummy before running diamonds, you should cash the spades first.  You get to see one extra card from the opponents that way.  On this hand, if you cash the AK of spades, *South shows out*.  This is the complete hand:

West
AKJ9
KQ94
A10
AJ2
North
Q107532
J832
3
65
East
84
A7
KQJ642
Q73
South
6
1065
9875
K10984
D

When you find out North started with six spades, your view of the hand changes drastically.  There are no heart/spade or club/spade squeezes anymore (you destroyed your entry for the latter).  You have to decide between playing someone for four hearts and the King of clubs and continue as before (Ace of clubs then run the diamonds) or testing hearts then running diamonds, playing either for South to be squeezed or for South to hold the King of clubs.

An additional piece of data to consider: North had QTxxxx of spades but didn't bid over West's 2C opener at equal vulnerability.  That might make North less likely to hold the King of clubs as well.

I can't say for certain what I would have done, but I think I would have adopted the latter line.  I'm guessing I'd cash the AKQ of hearts and then run diamonds, confident in the squeeze.  At trick eleven when South pitches a club, I'd pitch dummy's heart.  At trick twelve when I lead a club and South plays small, I'd wince but be forced to play for the finesse - North has shown up with exactly six spades and one diamond and no more than four hearts; North can't have the stiff King of clubs.

At the table, I cashed the Ace of clubs first, and there was no recovery afterwards.  I was down one, and the sole minus score in the field.

The sad thing is our control-showing mechanism got in our way on this hand, making me declarer.  If West declares, North has a very tough lead decision, especially in a blind auction.  Everyone I talked to after the game said West was declarer and got a spade lead allowing declarer to claim thirteen tricks soon thereafter.

I was proud of the line I chose but disappointed that I put zero thought into which order to cash dummy's black winners.  If I had put any thought into it, there's obviously value in getting a bit more information from cashing two tops in a suit before cashing the one top in another.

Lesson learned, and very painfully.

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