Quiz 7J38 Main

# Finesse for a King?

by Richard Pavlicek

Each of these slam contracts has a similar trump holding with a potential finesse for the king.
As South, see if you can find the winning plays.

### Problem 1

 IMPs A 6 5 4 West North East South None vul A K 5 4 1 4 Pass 1 Pass 1 J 7 5 4 Pass 3 Pass 4 Pass 4 Pass 5 Lead: K East plays 6 Pass 5 Pass 5 NT Pass 6 Pass 6 All Pass Q J 10 9 8 3 2 A K 8 7 6 5 6 South — You ruff the first trick

 What next? A. Lead Q to aceB. Run the QC. Win A, ruff , win AD. Win A, ruff , lead 5

### Problem 2

 IMPs A 6 5 4 3 West North East South None vul A J 2 1 6 5 4 Pass 3 Pass 4 3 2 Pass 4 Pass 6 Pass Pass Pass Lead: Q East plays 6 Q J 10 9 8 K 10 4 3 A 6 South A K 4 You win the A

 What next? A. Lead Q to aceB. Run the QC. Win A, lead Q to aceD. Win A, run the Q

### Problem 3

 IMPs A 6 5 4 3 2 West North East South None vul A 4 1 A K Pass 3 Pass 3 K Q 2 Pass 3 Pass 4 Pass 4 NT Pass 5 Lead: J Pass 6 All Pass Q J 10 9 8 Q J 10 9 8 3 2 6 South A You win the A and A (if you lead Q, West plays 7)

 What next? A. Lead Q to aceB. Run the QC. Win K, K-Q, AD. Win K, K, ruff Q, run Q

## Explanations

Top Finesse for a King?

### Problem 1

With nine cards, it is normal to finesse for a king, but you have to consider more than a single suit. Don’t miss the forest for the trees! After ruffing the club lead, if you next led a trump you would fail.

The main concern is to establish your diamond suit. Win the A and ruff a diamond (save the king for later). Next lead a low trump, willing to concede the trick to the king. Regardless of the defense, you can ruff another diamond with the ace and draw trumps; the rest of your diamonds will be good.

West held: 2 10-8-7-6 Q-10-9-2 A-K-10-8

### Problem 2

Even with 10 cards, finessing for the king is the percentage play if we consider just a single suit, but once again the entire deal dictates otherwise. If you lost the spade finesse, you’d have to guess the Q.

The best technique is to cash the A at trick two, then lead the Q (maybe West will cover) to the ace. Assume both follow and the king does not drop. Next ruff a diamond; ruff the third club and ruff dummy’s last diamond. Finally, exit with a trump, and whoever wins the trick will be endplayed.

West held: 2 7-6-5 K-J-8-7-3 Q-J-10-5

### Problem 3

Your trumps are getting longer! With 11 cards you should normally play to drop a missing king; but strangely enough, this time you can almost insure your slam by taking the finesse.

Lead a club to your ace, cross in diamonds and cash the remaining clubs. Well, almost: On the last club you must ruff to reach your hand. Next, lead the Q and, if West follows low, let it ride. If East wins a blank king, he will be endplayed. If West shows out on the Q, win A and lead another spade for the same endplay.

West held: K-7 7-6-5 J-10-9-4 9-8-7-5

 Quiz 7J38 Main Top Finesse for a King?