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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Take advantage of it!

Working Finesses.

They really do, sometimes, and when they do, you want to take advantage of them. Yet, some finesses are not quite as straightforward as you imagine.

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South Deals
Both Vul
A Q 10 4 2
8 5
J 9 2
A 10 2
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
8 6
A K J 4 2
K 6 4 3
K 6
West North East South
      1 
2  2  Pass 2 NT
Pass 3 NT All pass  

 

25 hcp between the two hands and you are in game and have received a none-too-unfriendly lead of Club-smallQ. You win in the South hand, play a spade to the queen which wins and a heart to the jack which also wins. It seems to be going rather well. What next?

Assuming that the Club-smallQ is an “honest” lead, that is promising the jack (by no means a certainty but on a deal where you are a little short of tricks, worth believing), you have three club tricks, two now in spades thanks to one finesse and three in hearts thanks to another. You need just one more trick, easy if hearts or maybe even spades break evenly, but just a little harder when neither suit does. When neither major behaves, there is always the opposition suit.

The problem with setting up an extra trick in hearts is getting back to the South hand to enjoy it. There is no obvious way. Also, you are in the South hand and still need to take that club finesse and if you are to score a diamond trick, then the best way is to lead a low diamond towards dummy’s jack…and if you cash a second high heart now, you cannot play both minor suits. So, it was important at trick 4, after the successful heart finesse, you lead a low diamond from your hand, as this was the lay-out:

South Deals
Both Vul
A Q 10 4 2
8 5
J 9 2
A 10 2
K 3
9 3
A Q 10 8 7 5
Q J 8
 
N
W   E
S
 
J 9 7 5
Q 10 7 6
9 7 5 4 3
 
8 6
A K J 4 2
K 6 4 3
K 6
West North East South
      1 
2  2  Pass 2 NT
Pass 3 NT All pass  

 

Playing for one trick in diamonds was better than playing an even spade break (36%) since if you were wrong, the suit would produce two losers before you got your winner. Barring East having an unlikely singleton Diamond-smallQ, you can comfortably force a diamond trick even if West rises with Diamond-smallQ. So, a diamond towards the jack and all will be well.

At that point, the defence are not threatening many tricks and all that remains is to score the diamond trick, test hearts and when that suit fails to break, you can take the club finesse for your ninth trick. A successful finesse in every suit even if the diamond one was taken in an unusual way.

Unfortunately, the declarer wasted an entry from their hand in going for an even spade break and never recovered.

Entries for taking each finesse were important. If they were managed properly, then a declarer would benefit when the finesses worked.

Lots of hcp ....

 
K 10 8
6
A Q 10 9 5 2
A K Q
West North East South
      1 
Pass 2  Pass 2 
Pass 3  Pass 3 NT
Pass ?    

 You could not bid 3Diamond-small as that would not be forcing. Any advance on 3NT?

Richard Solomon

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