Have you heard tell that a bridge expert thinks in a different way to a competent player? Do you like to challenge your everyday play? Then this hand is for you. It was dealt to me yesterday during the knockout stages of a competition I am playing in with my regular team from Pisa. The way I thought through this hand generated 10 IMPs for our side.
East-West are silent as you bid straightforwardly to 3 NT. First let us scrutinise what goes through your mind as you cogitate your dummy play. On the lead of the four of hearts, partner tables the following:


10 9 3
Q J 8
A 3 2
A 9 8 4
N
WE
S
A K Q 2
K 9
Q 10 7 5
Q 6 2
Counting three spades, two hearts, one diamond and one club with three suits offering possibilities for a fourth what are you considering? What do you play to trick one?

If you called for one of your heart honours you played just as I did. If I tell you now that, when faced with three possible sources (suits), the expert looks ahead from the very first card. So consider what is the best possible end position to maximise your chances for turning any one suit into two more tricks.

Here's the ending you want to reach:


Q
A 3 2
9



N


S

2
Q 10 7 5

Let me share the thinking. The key is to win the lead in dummy and lead a club towards the queen. This gives you your best chance. When East goes up with the king and returns a heart ducked by West you know the hearts are 5-3 and clubs probably 2-4. Now cash your black suit winners ending in dummy and you reach this position:


Q
A 3 2
9
A 10
K 8
J
N
WE
S
J
5
J 9 6
2
Q 10 7 5

Playing on diamonds on the second round, does not allow you to reach a winning ending even if you guess correctly, because you'll be in the wrong hand at the crucial moment.

Here is the full deal: (if you click play you can try all the possibilities for yourself)