Neither vulnerable. North deals.


xA 10 9 6

uA J 3

vA Q 6

wQ 9 4


x7 4 x5 2

u7 6 5 2 u9 8 4

vJ 10 8 7 3 vK 9

w6 2 wA K J 10 7 5


xK Q J 8 3

uK Q 10

v5 4 2

w8 3

The bidding:


1NT 3w 3x Pass

4x Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: Six of w

There is more than one way to take a finesse, as we have often claimed. That kernel will produce a game bonus on this deal.

As the cards lie, three no trump is a simple contract. Indeed, after a neutral least East can be endplayed for an overtrick. But there is no question that four spades is the right contract to reach. Give South the king of diamonds and East the king of spades and ten tricks at spades are easy while three no trump will probably be defeated.

West led the six of clubs, won with the ten, and East continued with two more rounds of clubs, declarer ruffing the third club high. Obviously, the contract depends on losing no more than one diamond trick, and the only way to avoid that is with a diamond finesse, but how you take that finesse is crucial to the outcome.

If you draw trumps and finesse the queen of diamonds, East wins and exits with a diamond, and in the fullness of time you will have to surrender another trick in the suit. However, suppose that, after drawing trumps you cash the ace of diamonds and three rounds of hearts, ending in dummy. Now lead a diamond and, if West follows low, insert the queen.

If West holds the king, you are home. But when East has the king of diamonds and the cards lie as in the diagram, the defenders are helpless. Since East does not have another diamond, the forced club return allows you to ruff in one hand while discarding a losing diamond from the other. The loser has vanished!

2013 Tribune Media Services

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