Have you ever heard a coach tell his players, "Don't think?" It means to just play automatically and not over-concentrate on what you're doing. Yet I find myself testing this rule in a tricky 3NT:


Partner
Kxxxxx
ATx
AKx
x

Me
SQ
HQJx
Dxxx
CAKxxxx

Partner
1
2
Pass

Me
2
3NT


The opening lead is the 9. I duck in dummy, and East hesitates before playing low too. My Q wins, but I know the K is offside.

Frankly, I'm unsure of the best line so I try the Q. The opponents duck, so I now play three rounds of clubs, pitching a spade and diamond from dummy.

The clubs luckily split 3-3 - East wins the Q on the third round. After some thought, he returns a spade. I dump a diamond as West wins the A.

West now leads the 7 with a bit of enthusiasm:


Partner
Kxx
AT
AK
--

Me
S--
HJx
Dxx
Cxxx


Ugh - where are 5 more tricks? West apparently started life with 97 or 97x. If I duck this, East could win the K and return a heart. Then I'm forced to hope that spades are 3-3.

I decide to give myself an extra chance by rising with the A, and then plunking down K and another spade. This gains whenever spades are 4-2 and West specifically has Jx 7 xxxx --. In that case, he can win his J but must return a diamond into dummy. The long spade will be my 5th trick.

In reality, spades do split 4-2 and West does win his J, but he then cashes the K and 8! Ka-boom. I feel like an idiot going down one.

The full deal:


Partner
Kxxxxx
ATx
WestAKxEast
AJxxxTx
K987xxx
JxMeQxxxx
JxxSQQxx
HQJx
Dxxx
CAKxxxx


Had I simply finessed in hearts again, I could have cashed my clubs and made two overtricks! I think that I learned a lesson, which is to just not think at all.