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PLAY and DEFENCE for Improving Players

Just In Case

Are you one of those players who last took a successful finesse back in 1986…and you have played a lot of bridge since?! If so, read on. If finessing always works for you, then have a coffee instead of reading this..but take a lie detector test while you do!

The majority, all of us really, need to take as many precautions as we can to counter our atrocious success rate! (shh…not true, as yours is no better or worse than anyone else. It’s just you remember the failures!)

So, what to do here in 4Heart-small as South with a multitude of things that could go wrong in the minor suits?

 

South Deals
None Vul
7 5 3
A 5 3
K J 7
K 10 9 3
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
A Q
K Q 9 6 4 2
9 8 5
5 2
West North East South
      1 
Pass 2  2  3 
Pass 4  All pass  

 

You know you really ought not to bid 3Heart-small (not that strong) but the Spade-smallQ now looked well placed. You have done worse! West leads the Spade-small10 to East’s king and your ace. Our “unlucky finesser” drew trumps (2-2 split) and started on diamonds. The Diamond-small9 went to East’s 10. East exited a spade to declarer’s queen. A second diamond went to dummy’s jack and East’s queen. Another spade exit.

There was no way home now even though West had the Club-smallA. Down one and plenty of self- pity shown. Comments like “how unlucky was I that all the diamonds were off-side”. Partner smiled quietly. “Later,” she thought.

Losing three diamond tricks was unlucky but the contract had chances even with the bad lie.  It just required a play at trick two that might prove a waste of time but one day (this day) would be vital.

South Deals
None Vul
7 5 3
A 5 3
K J 7
K 10 9 3
10 9 6
J 10
6 4 2
A J 7 6 4
 
N
W   E
S
 
K J 8 4 2
8 7
A Q 10 3
Q 8
 
A Q
K Q 9 6 4 2
9 8 5
5 2
West North East South
      1 
Pass 2  2  3 
Pass 4  All pass  

 

At trick 2, cash the Spade-smallQ. It is not going to get ruffed! Then play Heart-smallK, a heart to dummy’s ace and ruff dummy’s last spade. Now play a club towards dummy. You will have to at some point. It was not clear to West what the lie of the club suit was. If they duck, then declarer is home.

Up with the king and exit a club. West does best to overtake (indeed East should fear what might happen and throw the Club-smallQ under the king!) and play a diamond but declarer can play any diamond card and will lose no more than 2 diamonds to East before East either plays a losing diamond or after winning one diamond trick gives declarer a ruff and discard by playing a spade.

Yes, if West rises on the first club with the ace to play a diamond and East unblocks the Club-smallQ under that ace, the defence will prevail. Yet, the defence will always prevail if declarer just drew trumps at trick 2.

You never know. Just in case.

Richard Solomon

 

 

 

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