As with the previous hand, we are in notrump, so lets start by counting our winners. This time we're in 6NT and it might look at first like this will be an easy hand to play with the chance even of picking up an extra trick. But, when we find out there is an unfortunately 5-1 spade split, we have to re-evaluate our plan. Now we can only count 11 winners. Where else can we look for our 12th trick? Is there a better bet than the 50/50 heart finesse?
At trick one, we want to make sure we're taking a moment to plan before we start playing. When we're playing in notrumps, start by counting your sure winners. In this hand, we're in 3NT and we have eight sure winners. What is the best way we can play this bridge hand to create another winner? In each suit, how many extra tricks might we be able to develop?
When we're in a suit contract, start by counting your losers. Going suit-by-suit, we see that we have two spade losers, two heart losers, one diamond loser, and no club losers. You might ask, "But dummy only has a doubleton in hearts and we have the ace and king. How can we have two losers?" Until we actually ruff those hearts, they are still losers. When we are counting our losers in bridge, we have to count for every possible loser. The question with this hand is: how can we get rid of those heart losers?
In this hand, we're in a 6♠ contract. Whenever we're declarer in a suit contract, we can start by counting our losers as soon as the opening lead comes down. We have two potential losers in spades and one more in hearts. How should we plan our play to turn our two spade losers into one?