The auction in this hand is not difficult. South opens a standard 2NT showing 20-22 points and North asks for a five card major. This pair were using Muppet Stayman rather than Puppet Stayman. This method simply interchanges the 3H and 3NT responses of Puppet Stayman. The advantage is that when opener denies any four or five card major, responder has two bids available: the signoff in 3NT and the 3S bid. This is used to show a game forcing hand with five spades and four hearts and is a much simpler solution to this problem hand. You can’t transfer to spades and then bid 4H because you are too high and might not have a fit. It’s also much simpler than any other method that can find five and four card majors. Here, when South shows no five or four card major, North simply signs off in 3NT. West now leads the ten of hearts showing the interior sequence as one of the options. There are nine top tricks if the diamonds break but you need to get overtricks to score well in pairs. How will you proceed?
The club suit should be left for the opponents open since it is a top or bottom decision with no clues to help. Thus, the spades need to be played. The first thought is to take the spade finesse. This will win 50 per cent of the time when the queen is onside and will produce a second overtrick one third of the time when the suit is also 3-3. However, if the finesse fails, the second heart lead will remove the late entry to spades and there will never be any overtrick! The alternate plan is to play the ace, king and jack of spades. This will only get two extra tricks from the small chance of Q10 doubleton but it will make one overtrick when the spades are 3-3 or there is a doubleton queen or ten. That all comes to 60 per cent which will produce a better match point score. So, cash two diamonds to see if they are coming down before playing AKJ of spades. If the diamonds don’t split, concede one and try the spade finesse but avoid that finesse otherwise.