Contract Bridge

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The Manila Times


When declarer takes a finesse, he usually hopes it will win, but there are occasions when he actually hopes it will lose. Here is an example of such a situation. Declarer wins East’s queen of hearts with the ace and should conclude that the best play at trick two is to lead a low diamond and finesse the jack. If East has the queen and takes it, South acquires 10 cast-iron tricks, since he can later overtake the king of diamonds with the ace and run dummy’s suit. This is the reason South hopes the diamond finesse will lose. Leading a diamond to the jack also wins if West was dealt Q-x. When South later leads the king and West’s queen appears, he can overtake the king with the ace and so score six diamond tricks. But let’s assume that, as in the present case, East has the queen of diamonds and is shrewd enough not to take the jack with the queen at trick two. In that event, declarer next leads a club from dummy and finesses the queen. (This time South hopes the finesse will win.) When the queen holds, declarer leads the king of diamonds and overtakes it with the ace. He then finesses the jack of clubs, cashes the ace and continues with a club. East takes the king and cashes the queen of diamonds, but South finishes with 10 tricks consisting of two spades, two hearts, two diamonds and four clubs. Note that if declarer starts by playing the king and another diamond to the jack, losing to East’s queen, he is in serious trouble and eventually goes down one or more tricks. The first-round diamond finesse is easily the best play, as it assures two entries to dummy if the finesse wins and five diamond tricks if it loses.