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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

 

Jan Cormack.

Jan’s Day: More on Finessing.

That could be a clue as you make a plan to score 12 tricks from your rather ambitiously bid slam. There are finesses we need to take, finesses we put off unless there is no other way and at times finesses we should take but which seem unnecessary! Surely you are not confused!wink

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

 

1NT was 12-14 and 3 sought further information. The only information you got was that the opposition had plenty of spades. So, go for gold and partner very considerately held no wasted spade values. The lead was a small spade from West.

A successful finesse is a good finesse but a last resort

"One of the first parts of the game that I was taught, apart from the golden rule about needing 12 high card points before I was allowed to open the bidding, was how to finesse. (I suspect that Jan has since relaxed the rule on opening bid point count, under certain conditions!)

As my bridge progressed and some of the more complex aspects of this delightful game unfolded themselves to me, I soon realised that the finesse was a last resort to fulfil a successful contract.

 Today’s board is interesting in that the declarer is obliged to take what appears to be an unnecessary finesse to guarantee the success of their contract.

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

 

After North’s 12-14 1NT opening, East had an automatic 2♠ overcall. South’s jump to 6♣ was no doubt made with toes crossed and a fervent hope that partner held the “right” cards.

West led a small spade which declarer ruffed. ♣A drew the outstanding trumps and was followed by a heart to the king and then the ♠10 ruffed in hand. Next came ♥A and another heart. When West followed, the declarer inserted ♥10, not caring whether this seemingly unnecessary finesse succeeded or failed.

If the finesse failed, East would either have to lead a diamond into dummy’s ♦AQ or else lead a spade giving South a ruff and discard. ♥Q would provide a safe resting place for declarer’s other potential diamond loser.

If the finesse succeeded, as in the actual hand, one diamond could be discarded on the ♥Q and declarer could return to hand to try the diamond finesse….but that would be for the overtrick, not the contract.

Had West made the inspired opening lead of a diamond, South would have to guess the heart position successfully in order to make their slam. After the spade opening lead, the above safety play guarantees the contract’s success regardless of which opponent holds the ♥J and ♦Q.

Note that had West shown out on the third round of hearts, South plays ♥Q and then ♥10, discarding a diamond rather than ruffing, once more leaving East end-played. No escape.

no escape.jpg

No escape.

 

The finesse to take on the above deal was the heart and not the diamond finesse, the seemingly unnecessary finesse. It proved to be very necessary.”

Finessing and timing and ducking..for less experienced players, and others.

This week seems to be all about finessing. Well, there’s more to this deal than taking a finesse. So, take a look and plan the play to the following:

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

 

West’s 2♥ was a weak 2 opening and East’s 3♥a nuisance bid. West leads ♥Q. Plan the play.

Richard Solomon

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