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Whether to play 3NT or 4 of a Major

One of the first principles I learned in Bridge was to find my eight card major suit fit and play in it at the appropriate level. Once I got more advanced, I started to learn when to choose 3NT over 4 of a major. Reading Woolsey's book Matchpoints gave me some insight into that choice, even at Imps. But frankly I still like to play in the major. Which would you choose on this hand and why?

 

over1NT Vul at imps, partner opens 1NT (14-16)
{loadposition NTormajor}

 

Helgemo
A7
Q32
AQ865
K96
Passell
KJ965
6
73
J10543
Helness
Q103
AJ954
J10
Q87
Lynch
842
K1087
K942
A2
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
20
3NT West
NS: 0 EW: 0
5
10
2
7
2
0
1
10
2
5
3
2
0
2
J
4
6
7
2
0
3
4
7
Q
6
0
0
4
A
3
3
9
0
0
5
3
4
A
8
2
0
6
8
2
K
5
0
0
7
8
6
5
K
3
1
7
8
A
9
Q
0
1
8
Q
J
7
10
0
1
9
9 tricks claimed
E/W +600
10

Well Helness, of the Strul team, jumped to 3NT. Clearly there are quacks in his short suits so that taking ruffs may not have any advantage. Curious what others think of this choice.

A long time ago I ran a Borel simulation and found that when the partnership had 28 or more points, two balanced hands usually take as many tricks in Notrump. Often with that many high cards, there are many sources of tricks, so it is a safer spot at imps as it is not subject to poor splits in the trump suit. With less points, I am still not confident about when to choose 3NT over the major, so any insights appreciated.

4 might well have gone down, but in the other room the short A was led and the spade shift was not found.

If you want the pleasure of seeing Helgemo, perhaps the best declarer of all, time the play perfectly on this hand in 3NT then press the next button repeatedly in the above hand diagram. This was one of many well played hands contributing to the Strul team's defeat of the Lunch team in the round of 16 of the 2010 Spingold.

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