Once again playing the top division in Copenhagen with Håkan Nilsson this weekend, I had this collection:
Partner opens 1NT (14-16) and next hand overcalls 2S constructive. What to do at all white when X is negative and 2NT is artificial?
I stabbed 3NT as a practical shot and Håkan got a low spade lead and this was what he had to work with:
Not too shabby with 14 vs 9. Seems the contract hinges on finding an extra trick in hearts, either playing for H/Hx with overcaller (cashing AK and leading towards the T later) or hooking the T, playing for both QJ to be onside.
We can stall our decision a bit and after winning the J at trick 1, we play a high club which LHO wins and continues with the queen of spades and another one, RHO following 3 times. Håkan now cashed one high heart (dropping the 9 to his left) and played 2 rounds of clubs, ending in dummy. LHO followed and RHO tanked before discarding an encouraging low diamond. How do you tackle the hearts?
Håkan figured it was more likely that overcaller was 5-1-4-3 for his constructive overcall as he seemed to lack a high diamond H than for him to be 5-2-3-3 so he cashed the last club and hooked the heart for a wonderful +400. When teammates were +110 in 2S this translated to +11 imps.
It wouldn't have helped East to insert a heart honour as we can just duck and still have the ace of D for a re-entry.
When faced with a choice (guess), try to postpone the decision as long as possible and hope to gather some clues along the way. Sometimes this actually works.