Country Life Every Week - - Crossword Bridge - An­drew Rob­son

T he theme this week is test­ing your chances in the right or­der.

On our first deal, you duck West’s King of hearts open­ing lead, then the Queen that fol­lows, and win the Knave of hearts with the Ace, throw­ing a Club from dummy and see­ing east throw a Spade. What now?

At the ta­ble, de­clarer led a Club to the Queen, which looks to be the rou­tine play, as, clearly, you need east (not West with his hearts) to hold the Ace. east wins and switches to a Spade. Do you fi­nesse?

You have eight win­ners, via a Spade, a heart, three Di­a­monds and three pro­moted Clubs. You have two chances of a ninth: the Queen of Spades via a suc­cess­ful fi­nesse or a three-three Di­a­mond switch. A fi­nesse is a bet­ter chance than a three-three split, so de­clarer fi­nessed the Queen.

No good—west won the King and cashed the nine-four of hearts. Down two. Un­lucky.

Or was it? The point is that de­clarer reached a po­si­tion in which he was forced to guess: spade fi­nesse or Di­a­mond split? he didn’t need to put him­self in that po­si­tion.

Be­fore he leads a Club, he should cash the three top Di­a­monds. If the suit has split three-three, he knows that he doesn’t need the Spade fi­nesse. If the Di­a­monds split four-two, he knows the Spade fi­nesse is a nec­es­sary risk. If Di­a­monds split five-one, he finds out on the sec­ond round and doesn’t play the third top card.

here, Di­a­monds split three­three. he cashes dummy’s lucky 13th Di­a­mond, forces out the Ace of Clubs, rises with the Ace on east’s Spade re­turn and cashes his Clubs. Nine tricks and game made.

Our sec­ond deal comes from the South African Na­tion­als.

West led the three of hearts to the ten and de­clarer’s Knave. At trick two, de­clarer led the Queen of Di­a­monds. West won the Ace and led a sec­ond low heart (best). De­clarer won in hand and could count eight win­ners: two Spades, two hearts and four Clubs.

The ques­tion was whether to try for his ninth trick by lead­ing a sec­ond Di­a­mond to­wards dummy’s nine, hop­ing West held the ten, or take the Spade fi­nesse, over to the Ace and back to the Knave.

It was a pure guess and, in prac­tice, de­clarer tried a Di­a­mond to the nine. No good—east could win the ten, cash the King then lead over his third heart. West won the Ace and cashed his long heart—down one.

De­clarer needs to dis­cover whether the fi­nesse against the ten of Di­a­monds is win­ning, so he knows whether to try for his ninth trick in Di­a­monds or in Spades. Bernard Donde showed the way.

Af­ter win­ning trick one with his Queen of hearts, at trick two, Mr Donde led a low Di­a­mond (rather than the au­topilot Queen) to dummy’s nine. east won the ten and led a sec­ond heart, West duck­ing and let­ting dummy’s King win.

De­clarer now knew Di­a­monds were a dead loss and that his ninth trick would have to come from Spades. he cashed the four Clubs, crossed to the Ace of Spades and led a sec­ond Spade to his Knave.

The fi­nesse was suc­cess­ful and the King of Spades scored his ninth trick. Game made.

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