Bridge with Bland

Bridge with Bland: 7.10.19

Do your finesses always fail? In a vacuum, finesses are 50/50. At the table, we can increase those odds to a favorable percentage, even 100%. This month’s hand demonstrates how hard work (deep thinking) can turn those odds in our favor.

vul: All
dealer: East

the bidding
E: Pass
S: 1 ♣
W: 2 ♦
N: DBL
E: Pass
S: 2 ♠
W: Pass
N: 4 ♠
E: Pass
S: Pass
W: Pass

The bidding was straightforward: West preempted in ♦s with a weak two bid type hand. North made a negative double, South bid his four-card ♠ suit with a minimum hand, and North raised to game.

opening lead: ♦ Ace

North
♠ K Q 7 6
♥ A J 10 7
♦ 7 4 3
♣ K Q

East
♠ 9 5 4
♥ Q 9 6 4 3
♦ Q
♣ 6 5 3 2

South
♠ A J 10 8
♥ K 5 2
♦ 8 6 5
♣ A J 4

West
♠ 3 2
♥ 8
♦ A K J 10 9 2
♣ 10 9 8 7

the play
1. West led the ♦ Ace, North the 3, East the Queen and South followed with the 5.
2. West continued with the ♦King and Jack, and East discarded the 2 and 3 of ♣s.
3. West, knowing a ♥ through the AJ107 could expose the suit, shifted to the ♣ 10.
4. Declarer won the ♣ shift in Dummy with the Queen.
5. Declarer drew trumps in three rounds.
6. Declarer then played two more rounds of ♣s, and East discarded a ♥.
7. Counting as he went, Declarer knew West’s entire holding: two ♠s, one ♥, six ♦s and four ♣s.
8. With certainty, Declarer led a ♥ to Dummy’s Ace and then led the Jack, trapping East’s Queen.
9. Four ♠s, three ♥s, three ♣s for 10 tricks, and the ♠ game.

Note: Declarer could have taken a successful ♥ finesse against East any time with good odds, but why not be 100% sure?

tip of the day
I know finesses are 50/50, but there always seems to be a two-way finesse to take. Any clues on which way to go?
Avoid playing ‘two-way’ suits as long as possible. Work hard (think). Try to get a count on the other suits to enable a successful finesse.

big games & scores

June 10
Deb Keniley/ John Bolesta
70.83%
St. Louis Bridge Center

June 10
Diana Stonemann/ Sue Higginbotham
72.72%
St. Louis Bridge Center

June 11
Becky Hubert/ En Xie
70.01%
St. Louis Bridge Center

June 15
Judy Cardin/ Bruce Greenspan
71.12%
St. Louis Bridge Center

June 18
Ken Schwartz/ John Belfi
72.02%
St. Louis Bridge Center

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