Main   Quiz 7H14 by Richard Pavlicek  

Nine Finesses!

As South, you are declarer in the contracts shown, each with three potential finesses.
Your mission (should you accept) is to decide which finesses to take and which one to take first.

Problem 1

4 H South
None Vul
S 3 2
H 10 8 4 3 2
D A Q 3
C A Q 5
West

Pass
All Pass
North

3 NT1
East
Pass
Pass
South
1 H
4 H
Lead: C 6Table
S A Q 7 5
H K Q J 9 7
D 7 6 2
C 2

1. balanced forcing raise

In which suits will you finesse?
And in which order desired?

A. Clubs; spades; diamonds
B. Spades; diamonds
C. Diamonds; spades
D. Spades only


Solution

Take all three finesses! You can finesse for the king in each side suit, and your contract will succeed (barring an unlikely ruff) if any finesse works. Since the lead is a club, you should play the C Q at trick one. Later you will try the spade and diamond finesses the first time either suit is led.

Note that you will win anywhere from 9 to 12 tricks depending on how many finesses work. You will be set only if they all lose, which makes you a strong favorite (7 to 1 odds if you’re a mathematician).

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Problem 2

4 S South
N-S Vul
S J 10 9 3
H A Q 8 4
D J 3
C 6 4 2
West

Pass
Pass
Pass
North

1 H
2 S
4 S
East

Pass
Pass
All Pass
South
1 C
1 S
3 S
Lead: H 5Table
S A K 8 5
H 3
D A Q 10
C J 8 7 5 3

In which suits will you finesse?
And in which order desired?

A. Hearts; spades; diamonds
B. Spades; diamonds
C. Diamonds; spades
D. Diamonds only


Solution

Take only the diamond finesse, as it is the only one likely to secure your contract. (The heart and spade finesses, even if they both work, will leave you still needing the diamond finesse.)

Win the H A, lead the D J and let it ride if not covered. Repeat the finesse and cash the D A to discard a club from dummy. Then exit with a club. If East wins and leads a trump, do not finesse; win the S K and lead another club. You will either establish the long clubs or develop a crossruff.

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Problem 3

6 NT South
E-W Vul
S A K Q J
H K J 2
D J 10 9 2
C 10 9
West

Pass
Pass
North

1 S
6 NT
East
Pass
Pass
All Pass
South
1 C
2 NT
Lead: S 10TableEast plays S 6
S 4 3 2
H A 3
D A K 8 7
C A Q J 3

Whichever finesse you try first will lose
so you get only one more finesse.

A. Diamonds; hearts
B. Diamonds; clubs
C. Clubs; hearts
D. Clubs; diamonds


Solution

Take the club finesse first. If it wins take it again and, assuming it works the second time, you can now switch to diamonds to ensure your contract (take the diamond finesse for an overtrick.)

If the club finesse loses, you then have 11 tricks and need one more in diamonds or hearts. You cannot try both finesses since you cannot afford to lose the lead. You should combine your chances: Cash the top diamonds to see if the queen drops; if not you will eventually try the heart finesse.

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© 1992 Richard Pavlicek