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Going for the Overtrick at Matchpoints

West
A632
QJ5
875
AJ10
East
J5
A9872
AK6
KQ4
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
2
P
4
P
P
P

You are playing matchpoints in a strong sectional.  Let’s please not deal with the bidding.  As West I do not agree with East’s choices but that’s an aside.

After D4 lead (3Rd and low)You can virtually ensure the contract by leading twice up to QJx to cater to KTxx behind you.  The a priori odds of KTxx with LHO is about 8.4% (.28*.5*3/5).

Alternatively you could try for the overtrick by trying to crash doubleton 10 behind you.  (Lead Q then after duck from Kxx, lead J).  The a priori odds of this holding is about 10.2% although you will go down if KTxx is behind you.   You will also pick up stiff 10 offside (2.8%).

Overall you are most likely to lose exactly one heart trick.  Skipping the 5-0 breaks, exactly one in line 1 and occasionally zero or two in line 2.

Another factor is that if you receive a spade lead in 3NT you will often make 9 tricks, without a spade lead most likely 10 tricks.

At IMPs it seems clear to take the “safety play”.  Here the odds favoring the gamble are small.  What is your choice?

 

I virtually ensure contract by leading up to QJx twice.
I risk trying for overtrick by finessing Q then try to crash the 10x offside.
Other

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