FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA

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Bridge

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FOR RELEASE: SATURDAY, MAY 31, 2014
THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
THINK CAREFULLY AT TRICK ONE

Robert J. Sawyer, a Canadian science fiction writer, said, “General principles should not be based on exceptional cases.”
This week we are studying third hand’s finessing against his partner at trick one. The general principle is that when dummy has one honor, third hand holds a higher honor, and dummy plays low, third hand saves his honor when he can insert a nine or higher.
However, bridge still exists because of exceptional cases. Is this deal one of them?
South is in three no-trump. West leads his fourth-highest heart. What should East do after declarer calls for dummy’s five?
After South opened one no-trump, responder was right to raise to three no-trump. With a long minor, no singleton or void, enough points to think about game, but insufficient for a slam, go for the nine-trick game.
If East blindly follows the finesse-against-partner rule, he will put in his heart 10. However, South will win with his queen and run the diamond jack. East can win with his king, but declarer has 10 tricks: three spades, one heart, five diamonds and one club.
Now let’s go back to trick one. If East tallies the high-card points, he will realize that his partner is destitute. And if he stops to survey his hand and the dummy, he will notice that his club suit is a source of three tricks. East must take the first trick with his heart ace and shift to the club king.

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