Main     Quiz 7H14 by Richard Pavlicek    

Nine Finesses!

As South, you are declarer in the contracts shown. Each deal contains three finesses and your mission (should you accept) is to decide which finesses to take and which one to take first.

1. 4 H by South

S 3 2
H 10 8 4 3 2
D A Q 3
C A Q 5
Lead: C 6Table
S A Q 7 5
H K Q J 9 7
D 7 6 2
C 2


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).

2. 4 S by South

S J 10 9 3
H A Q 8 4
D J 3
C 6 4 2
Lead: H 5Table
S A K 8 5
H 3
D A Q 10
C J 8 7 5 3


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.

3. 6 NT by South

H K J 2
D J 10 9 2
C 10 9
Lead: S 10Table
S 4 3 2
H A 3
D A K 8 7
C A Q J 3


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.


© 2013 Richard Pavlicek