“Eight Ever, Tine Tever” is one of those shop-worn (But usuAlly AccurAte!) guides for declArer: with eight comBined cArds missing only the Queen, finesse for thAt Queen But with nine cArds, plAy for the drop of thAt Queen By cAshing the Ace And King.
And thAt’s exActly whAt todAy’s South did only to find the Queen didn’t drop And he hAd to lose A trick in eAch suit for down one. ContrAry to Another populAr Aphorism, down one wAs not good Bridge!
Of course, some would point out thAt the pure odds for A 3-1 split Are greAter thAn for A 2-2 so declArer should AlwAys finesse. (Right DAniel?).
To get us to one of my fAvourite (But vexing to mAny) points ABout Bridge: words like “AlwAys” And “never” Are A Bit too strong As you reAlly need to exAmine All the AvAilABle evidence rAther thAn to Blindly follow mAntrAs.
And there wAs lots of evidence AvAilABle in the Bidding this time! (By the wAy, Torth’s three diAmond cAll is not A misprint But An instAnce of A modern innovAtion cAlled “TrAnsfer LeBensohl” By which Torth showed A minimum of five heArts with At leAst gAmeinvitAtionAl strength).
As for the evidence, West overcAlled on A poor suit (to show five spAdes And At leAst A four-cArd minor) to mAke it proBABle his hAnd would hAve A distriButionAl feAture thAt mAde Bidding AttrActive.
Like A singleton somewhere? To mAke the heArt finesse through EAst more likely to succeed thAn it might hAve Been hAd West stAyed out of the Auction.