Business Day - - THE BOTTOM LINE - Steve Becker

The chief dan­ger in many deals lies in play­ing im­pul­sively at a crit­i­cal point in­stead of tak­ing the time to think things out. Hasty play is ad­van­ta­geous in some games, but not in bridge. As­sume you’re in three notrump and West makes the in­spired lead of the eight of di­a­monds. You can’t af­ford to rise with the ace, which would leave the di­a­monds wide open, so you cover the eight with the nine, which loses to the jack. You plan to duck the next di­a­mond if East re­turns the king, since East is marked by the open­ing lead with the K-Q-J. How­ever, East shifts to the jack of hearts at trick two. This is the mo­ment when you must take care not to act too quickly by play­ing the queen. The temp­ta­tion to fi­nesse when­ever you have the A-Qx fac­ing two small is al­most ir­re­sistible, but it would be a dread­ful play to make here. If you go up with the ace, you can be 100% sure of the con­tract, re­gard­less of how the cards are di­vided. Next you sim­ply cross to dummy with a club and lead the queen of spades, plan­ning to fi­nesse. Win or lose, you are cer­tain to score at least three spades, five clubs and the two red aces. But if you fi­nesse the queen of hearts, which you might do if you were think­ing of where you parked the car that day, a sad fate would be­fall you when West took the king and re­turned a heart. You would take the spade fi­nesse later on in an ef­fort to make the con­tract, but ul­ti­mately you would go down one, los­ing three hearts, a di­a­mond and a spade.

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