Do you hate having to guess which way to finesse for the queen of trumps? Experts do, and they always look for a way to avoid it. This deal is a typical case.
The bidding was straightforward to reach the sound game in spades. Especially note Souths simple game invitation with 3 , rather than tipping off the opponents by bidding hearts over 90 percent of the time you will end up in spades anyway, and you might get a friendly heart lead if you keep it quiet.
West led the K and continued the suit, South ruffing. Declarer was faced with a two-way finesse for the queen of trumps and took the percentage play by crossing to the A and running the jack. Alas, it lost to the pesky queen and the contract failed. Too bad.
Finessing East for the queen was the percentage play in spades alone, but a single suit does not dictate the best play for an entire deal. It is only a piece of the picture, or a tree in the forest. Rather than rely on the 50-50 finesse, an expert would see that the contract is cold on a 3-2 trump break (a 68-percent chance).
After ruffing the second club, the proper technique is to win the K and A (no finesses!) then ruff another club. Cross to the K and ruff the last club with your last trump. Now just run the hearts until West ruffs, and the A provides an entry to enjoy the last heart a neat dummy reversal for 10 tricks.
© 1999 Richard Pavlicek