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Play, Defence even Bid for Newer Players

The Finesse You are happy to lose.

Many contracts require care. If that was not the case, we would get a little bored with all deals being too simple to play. Maybe you would like a simple board to play?

Many players hate playing in no-trumps. In some ways, not having to worry about the opposition’s trumps makes a contract easier. One tip is not to cash all your aces and kings quickly unless you have enough tricks to at least make your contract.

Cashing aces and kings is certainly not a good idea when the total only comes to 6 and you are in 3NT! You need nine tricks and thus have to develop three more from somewhere.

So, the first question is which suit in the following deal will provide those extra tricks? You are West in 3NT after the initial low spade lead from North went South’s Spade-small8 and your Spade-smallQ.

 

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

 

You have for sure one in spades, two hearts, two in diamonds and one in clubs..not enough. You need to develop three more tricks in one of the suits.abacus.png

 If you tried hearts, you would have to lose the lead twice and would only get one extra trick.

If you tried diamonds, you would have to lose the lead once (if the suit breaks 3-2 in the opponents’ hands..unless you were really lucky and one opponent had QJ doubleton). If you lose the lead once, you can gain two extra tricks….but that is not enough for your contract.

So, those tricks can come easiest from clubs. Your club suit is not good enough to be played for no losers. You will have to lose the lead..but can get five tricks in that suit, enough for your contract.

Losing the lead. Can you choose to whom?

So, you play clubs….and need to lose a trick. Yet, there is another issue. When you lose the lead, is there one opponent to whom you would prefer to lose the lead rather than the other?

Most definitely! Where is the Spade-smallA? Almost certainly with North as South did not play it at trick 1. So, if you lost the lead to South, they would play a middle spade and you would never make the Spade-smallK and would immediately lose four spade tricks and one club trick..ouch! This is something like the likely lay-out:

 

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

 

You cannot make your contract! No wonder you hate playing no trump contracts!

So you must lose the lead to North because if North plays spades, then your king will win a trick.

You actually want the club finesse to fail..or are happy if it does!

Planning over. Let's play!

So, you are now ready to play to trick two. Do not cash Club-smallA in case South has the king. Cross to dummy…with a diamond and play the Club-smallJ. If South plays low, so do you. If South plays the king (as they should in the above lay-out…to promote a trick for the Club-small10 which they hope their partner has), then you can win,cross with a heart to dummy and play a club to your 9. If North has Club-small10, your contract is safe.

You will make five club tricks, Diamond-smallAK, Spade-smallQ and Heart-smallA, even if you do not get to play Heart-smallK. North might cash Spade-smallA giving you an overtrick.

Whew!

Counting your tricks.

Identifying the suit you must develop for tricks.

Identifying the danger hand.

Playing that key suit in a certain manner!  Realising you are happy for the finesse, either club finesse to lose!

Maybe you were right about one thing? You do not like playing no-trumps!

Come on. Wasn’t it all worthwhile when the opposition and your partner said “well played”?

Richard Solomon

 

 

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