Home News May 23, 2024 – The Mercury News

May 23, 2024 – The Mercury News


I got an email from the august Society of Finessers (they’ve apparently given up on certified letters), complaining that finesses never win in my column deals.

“Sir: We again condemn your disdain for the finesse, an honorable technique that wins fully half the time, except in your column.”

Against 3NT, West leads a high heart, and East plays low. South wins and leads the ten of clubs: deuce, nine, king. East shifts to a diamond: queen, king. West then leads a second heart, and East ducks again. South has only eight tricks, and when he leads a club to dummy and lets the ten of spades ride, West wins and leads his last heart. East takes the ace and his fourth heart for down one.


“Three losing finesses,” the Society grumbles.

When East leads a diamond at Trick Three, South should take the ace. He leads a club to dummy and finesses in spades. West wins, but South has three clubs, three spades, a diamond and a heart, and is sure of his ninth trick in a red suit.


You hold: S A J 9 6 H K J 3 D A Q J C 10 6 5. The dealer, at your right, opens one spade. What do you say?

ANSWER: Most experts would overcall 1NT. They would rather declare than defend, and if partner happens to have a few points, you may have a game. Trap-passing has fallen out of favor; still, if the opponents are vulnerable, I would pass. They may be headed for trouble, and if they bid indiscreetly, you may be able to collect a fat penalty.

South dealer

N-S vulnerable


S Q 10 4

H Q 4 2

D 7 5 3

C A Q J 9


S K 7 3

H 8 7 6

D K 9 4

C 8 4 3 2


S 8 5 2

H A 10 9 5

D 10 8 6 2

C K 7


S A J 9 6

H K J 3


C 10 6 5

South West North East
1 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass
Opening lead — H 8

©2024 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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