6. Eschewing the finesse

South Deals      

E-W Vul

Q J 4 3 2


K 8 7

A Q 3 2

K 5

Q 6 5

A 10 6 5

K 6 5 4

10 9 8 7

10 9 4 2

Q 9 2

J 9


A 6

A K J 8 7

J 4 3

10 8 7





Opening Lead: 5 


1 NT


3 ♠






With QJ opposite an Ace, the temptation may be to finesse by running the queen. If, particularly in trump contracts, you must AVOID losing a trick, finesse. But, if you expect and are happy to lose a trick anyway, playing Ace first then leading towards the QJ (twice if possible) is the better odds-play. After all, the finesse should only ever give two tricks irrespective of who holds the king (the ace plus queen or jack, assuming the king covers one or other).Here in 3NT, if you run dummy's Q♠ round to West's K♠, you will have to lose to East's 10 later. But... 5 lead runs to East's Q and East returns to 9 which runs (best) to dummy's K. At trick 3, play 2♠ to A♠ and lead 6♠ back towards dummy. When West's K♠ pops up - without you having to waste Q♠ or J♠ - you now have four spades, AK, K and AQ♣ (by leading 7♣ to Q♣) to give 9 tricks.

Lucknam Park and Spa, near Bath

2-night stay in this 5-star country house hotel and spa.


Hotel Tresanton, Cornwall

4-night stay in this super stylish hotel overlooking the sea.

MARCH 2018