Main Almost Bridge 7F58 by Richard Pavlicek
Consider the following tablet. As South, Valentine responded 1 to his partners opening bid and was duly raised. Rather than settle for the easy game, he next made a tactical 3 cue-bid to confuse the opponents. When his partner bid game, he leaped to slam!
6 by South
|Both Vul|| A 7 6|
K Q 5 4
A 5 4 3
| K 5 4|
J 9 8 7 6
9 8 7 6
| 3 2|
Q 10 4
J 10 8 7 6
K Q 10
|Lead: 9|| Q J 10 9 8|
A K 5
A 3 2
West led his stiff diamond and Valentine studied the dummy for a moment then spread his hand. I claim, he said. I will finesse in two suits and squeeze East in the other two; simple hand.
The opponents and kibitzers were bewildered. Even with the K favorably placed, Valentines statement made no sense. Almost in unison East and West asked, Whats this about finessing in two suits?
My dear opponents, he continued, as a patron of love, I would love to explain it to you, but it would be wasted on deaf ears. Suffice it to say that my brilliance is beyond your comprehension.
West studied the layout and said, The only finesse I see is the spade finesse and I would not cover with the king so you cant ruff a heart. You have only 11 tricks, and I dont think my partner can be squeezed.
Ruff a heart! You make me laugh. I didnt gain my stature by silly ruffs. I play with finesse. You are right that East cannot be squeezed with ordinary technique, but I dont waste my time on ordinary technique. First I will take the heart finesse.
West was dumfounded. What heart finesse?
Open your eyes! I win the K and lead the 2; if East plays the four I finesse the five. If East instead plays the 10 or queen, I win it and finesse later.
So what? West rebutted. I will win a heart trick either way.
Fine, take it! I am in six not seven. I fully intend to give you a heart trick, and finessing the five is the only way to make this slam. Trust me; I am a genius.
So, I win the heart and lead a club, West argued.
Too late! Thats where my shrewd bidding paid off; you were a pigeon to believe that phony cue-bid. I win the A, cross to my hand with a heart and finesse and draw trumps. The last six cards will be:
Q 5 4
5 4 3
J 9 8
9 8 7
J 10 8
| 10 9|
Next I cross to my hand with the A and lead my last two spades and the A. East is squeezed in the minors and I win the rest. If you dont see it, I understand. Perhaps one of the kibitzers will explain it to you very slowly.
© 1999 Richard Pavlicek