Both vulnerable. South deals.
x -10 4
u -Q 6 5
v -10 6 2
w -A K J 10 4
x -K J 8 6 x -9 7 2
u -K 9 u -10 8 4 3 2
v -Q 8 7 5 4 v -A 9
w -9 2 w -7 5 3
x -A Q 5 3
u -A J 7
v -K J 3
w -Q 8 6
SOUTH WEST NORTH EAST
1NT Pass 3NT Pass
Opening lead: Five of v
When dummy came down, South thought he was in a finesser's paradise. Unfortunately, he found out he was in a rather warmer spot.
With 10 high-card points and a good five-card minor, North had more than enough to raise to three no trump. No other action should even be considered.
West led the five of diamonds to East's ace and the nine was returned. South, a confirmed finesser, tried the jack, losing to the West's queen, and the defender continued with a diamond to set up two winners in hand.
South's predicament now dawned on him. He had a choice of two finesses, but which one should he take? He could not afford to lose a trick to West, since that would allow the defender to cash the diamonds for down one. Not even an imploring look heavenward offered any help. Declarer crossed to dummy with a club and, as you might guess, elected to take the heart finesse. Next hand, please.
South could have claimed the contract since the play in diamonds had marked West with the length in that suit. At trick two declarer should rise with the king of diamonds, cash enough club tricks to exhaust the defenders' exit cards in that suit. Now declarer presents West with the lead by exiting with a diamond.
West can take his diamond winners, but then is faced with a Hobson's choice. No matter which major suit he elects to return, it is into one of South's major-suit tenaces and presents declarer with the fulfilling trick.
& copy; 2005 Tribune Media Services
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