An oft-quoted truism: “Newer players learn how to finesse while experts learn how not to!”
In a tournament setting with players of varying degrees of experience, East opened two clubs to show a limited hand (10-15 highcard points) with long clubs. West’s response was natural and non-forcing, and North’s takeout double got his side into the bidding.
More clubs and no enthusiasm for spades from East to extract an optimistic shot at three notrump from South — he did, after all, have some values in the suits his opponents had bid.
South ducked East’s club Jack at trick one and won the continuation to cross his fingers and play on diamonds. The 2-2 split meant he was in with a chance as he cashed out the suit while paying careful attention to the discards.
East first pitched the heart nine and then two small clubs while West let go of one heart and two small spades.
With his contract on the line, South led and passed the heart Queen but the finesse lost so that declarer then had to suffer through East cashing three more club winners for down one.
Lesson to be learned: Don’t take a finesse that the opponents have more or less told you is unlikely to succeed! With West likely to hold the spade King for his response (and East’s club rebid), the opening bidder really needs to have the heart King to warrant an opening bid.
Solution: After taking the diamond tricks, cash the spade ace and exit with the club ten to wait for two heart tricks on the way back — endplays are always more fun than finesses!