Main     Article 7K37 by Richard Pavlicek    

Elope! Don’t Finesse

I will try to score some points here, as I report this deal played by my wife in the Vero Beach Sectional some years ago. It might even be worth a month of my favorite meals!

4 S by South

Both Vul
S A 7 2
H 7 4 2
D A 9 3
C K Q 8 2
H Q J 10 5
D Q 10 7 2
C A 10 9 5
TableS Q 10 9 4
H 9 8 6
D 8 6 5
C J 7 4
Lead: H QS K 8 6 5 3
H A K 3
D K J 4
C 6 3



2 C
4 S

All Pass
1 S
2 NT

Mabel, South, opened 1 S and her partner (Stanley Friedberg) responded 2 C. Mabel next rebid 2 NT to show a balanced hand with stoppers in the unbid suits. North considered raising to 3 NT with his flat hand, but the partnership played “five-card majors” so with such a weak heart holding he opted for the spade game.

West led the H Q to South’s ace, and a low club was led to dummy’s king as West ducked. Mabel returned to her hand with the S K to lead a second club, taken by West who returned a heart to South’s king. A spade was led to the ace, revealing bad news as West threw a diamond, and the C Q provided a heart discard.

At this point it was certain that two trump tricks had to be lost, so the contract appeared to depend on the diamond finesse. Not really. In fact, the location of the D Q is totally irrelevant. Ten tricks are almost assured with an elopement play.

Mabel ruffed dummy’s last heart, then cashed two diamonds ending in dummy. Mabel was left with two trumps and a diamond (all losers), but by leading the losing club she was able to elope with one more trick. If East ruffed, South would throw her losing diamond; if East discarded, South would ruff.


© 1998 Richard Pavlicek