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Struggle in 3NT

Match Points, Regional A/X/Y Pairs

West
K853
A93
AK74
J4
North
AQ6
KJ106
1065
865
East
94
742
Q9832
AK10
South
J1072
Q85
J
Q9732
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT West
NS: 0 EW: 0

I was declarer. North led the heart Jack. I held up, and North continued with a heart to South's Queen. I held up again, and South led her last heart to my Ace. I saw 8 top tricks, with two black suit finesses available for the ninth. It seemed clear to try the club finesse first, since if it lost, I wasn't down yet, so that's what I did. As you can see from the hand diagram, this led to an immediate down 3, losing 3 spades, 3 hearts, and the club Queen.

I didn't really think much about it at the time, but looking at the results that evening, I saw that 13 out of 28 declarers were in 3NT (from the West), 3 made it, 3 went down two, and 6 went down only one. I was the only one to go down 3. I also saw that of the 14 pairs in 2NT (actually one of them was in 1NT), 12 made two, and 2 made three. There was one lone pair in 3D, making three.

As I was playing the hand, when South played the heart Queen at Trick 2, I realized that hearts must be 4-3, and gave a fleeting thought to winning that trick, and leading back a heart. It was just a fleeting thought though, but now I think it had some merit. North will cash his fourth heart. Then if he leads a spade, I'm home, and if he doesn't maybe I should figure that he has the Ace and just cash out my 8 tricks.

There are other possibilities. I could cash my 5 diamonds first. I didn't do that because it seems to give up on the club finesse. On the other hand, they do have to make a lot of discards, so even if the spade Ace is wrong, maybe North will wind up giving me a chance to finesse the club anyway. I didn't really consider this for long because it seems that if the spade Ace is offside, I'm still down.

I could cash just 4 diamonds, finishing in hand, and then try the club finesse. I didn't give this much thought either, but maybe I should have.

I'm also wondering how many declarers in 2NT just cashed their 8 tricks, instead of trying for a ninth.

What do you think?

Win the third heart, finesse the club at Trick 4
Win the second heart, and give up a heart at Trick 3
Win the third heart, cash 5 diamonds, and try the spade finesse
Win the third heart, cash 4 diamonds, and try the club finesse
Cash out for down 1
Something else I haven't thought of

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