South ended up in 3NT after opening 1 NT.
The lead were a small heart (invitational), low, ten and jack. Next came ace, king and queen of spades.
South was in trouble since he only had 3 tricks in spades, 2 in heart, 1 in diamond and 2 in clubs for 8 in total. He had to look for the ninth. Since the first trick took the jack south now was without any sure entry and could no longer establish his long spades.
He played a low club from both hands hoping for a 3-3 distribution, but the hand looked like this
The defense made no mistakes and had an easy run for 5 tricks holding declarer to only 8.
Can you spot a mistake from declarer; did he have a chance to improve his chances for making?
The mistake came early in the play. We had more than one chance to do better.
The easiest improvement would be to play a low spade at the second trick. This makes us handle a 4-2 distribution and most likely brings the contract home.
However, at the first trick there was an even better chance. You should have put up the queen to guard K J as an entry at south. You “know” the lead are from the ace so this should be a possible way of play.
Next, you play ace, king and queen of spades. Now you do not need to give up a trick before it is necessary. If spades show up 3-3 you bring the contract home with overtricks, if 4-2 you can let go a spade with the K J of hearts as entry. In addition, if spades are 5-1 you can combine a double finesse in diamonds as a fair try.
All in all pretty good chances for making