FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA

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Bridge

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THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
WHAT FINESSES? I CANNOT SEE ANY

Stacy Keach said, “I can’t think of anything that requires more finesse than comedy, both from a verbal and visual point of view.”
There is hardly a bridge deal without at least one finesse. How many potential finesses can you see in this deal?
South is in six hearts. What should he do after West leads the diamond queen?
North took a slight gamble in wheeling out Blackwood immediately. He planned, of course, to bid six hearts even if partner denied an ace. But it was just possible that his side was off the two top spades. South could have held 14 high-card points without holding the spade ace or king. But the odds were in North’s favor.
There are two possible finesses, one in each black suit. Which one should be tried?
A finessing fan would take both, go down with this distribution and then complain about his bad luck. With the right line of play, though, the contract is guaranteed — how?
After declarer wins the first trick with dummy’s diamond king and draws trumps, he should cash dummy’s diamond ace, play a trump to his hand, ruff his last diamond in the dummy, and play a club to his nine, being careful to conserve a trump entry to the dummy.
West wins with his 10, but what can he do now? Whatever he leads concedes a 12th trick. If a spade, it is away from the king; if a club, it is around to declarer’s king-eight; if a diamond, South ruffs in one hand and sluffs a spade from the other.

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