“Simple Saturday” columns focus on basic technique and logical thinking.
Finesses are fickle; they lose as often as they win. (Some players insist that their finesses always lose.) It’s doubly unpleasant to face two finesses and wonder which one to try.
In today’s deal, South might have bid 3NT at his third turn. Against four hearts, West led the deuce of spades, and South won. The king of diamonds was dummy’s only entry, so South could finesse in trumps or he could lead toward his king of clubs.
Perhaps intent on getting the trumps in, South went to dummy and returned a trump to his queen. The finesse won, but when South took the ace, the king didn’t fall. Eventually, South had to lead a club from his hand, and he lost two clubs, a diamond and a trump to go down.
South took the wrong finesse. A trump finesse might not gain anything even if it won. But if East had the ace of clubs, South could surely hold his club losers to one by leading toward the king.
You hold: ♠ J864 ♥ 65♦ K32 ♣ J 9 7 2. The dealer, at your left, opens one club. Your partner doubles, you bid one spade and he raises to three spades. The opponents pass. What do you say?
ANSWER: Your partner has a huge hand. He has undertaken a nine-trick contract, and for all he knows, you have nary a point. Your jack of clubs may be worthless, but you have a useful jack and king. Bid four spades. Partner may hold AK95, AQJ2, AJ64, 6.