Main   Study 9G41 by Richard Pavlicek  

Finesse

A finesse is an attempt to win a trick, or develop a subsequent trick in the same suit, with a card that is not the highest in its suit by leading through an opponent who has a higher card. If the leading side also has the highest card in the suit, it is a primary finesse, which is generally assumed by default. If the leading side does not have the highest card, it is a secondary finesse. About the Techniques

1. Primary finesse

NT win 2 S A Q
H
D
C
Trick
1. S
Lead
S 2
2nd
9
3rd
Q!
4th
S K 9
H
D
C
Table S J 10
H
D
C
South leads S 3 2
H
D
C

2. Secondary finesse

NT win 1 S K 4
H
D
C
Trick
1. S
Lead
S 2
2nd
10
3rd
K!
4th
S A 10
H
D
C
Table S Q J
H
D
C
South leads S 3 2
H
D
C

3. Double finesse

NT win 4 S A Q 10
H 2
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. N
3. S
Lead
S 2
H 2
S 3
2nd
6
4
J
3rd
10!
A
Q
4th
7
3
S K J 6
H 3
D
C
Table S 9 8 7
H 4
D
C
South leads S 4 3 2
H A
D
C

4. Secondary double finesse

NT win 3 S K J 9
H 2
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. N
3. S
Lead
S 2
H 2
S 3
2nd
8
4
10
3rd
9!
A
J
4th
6
3
S Q 10 8
H 3
D
C
Table S A 7 6
H 4
D
C
South leads S 4 3 2
H A
D
C

If you think West has S A play S J first then S K.

5. Preparatory double finesse

NT win 4 S A 10 8 2
H
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. N
3. S
Lead
S J!
S 2
S 3
2nd
Q
5
7
3rd
A
K
8
4th
4
6
S Q 9 7 6
H
D
C
Table S 5 4
H A K
D
C
South leads S K J 3
H 2
D
C

6. Secondary prepatory double finesse

NT win 4
bi
S K 9 7 3
H 4
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. E
3. S
4. S
Lead
S 10!
H K
S Q
S 2
2nd
J
A
5
6
3rd
K
3
3
7
4th
A
4
4
S J 8 6 5
H 3
D
C
Table S A 4
H K Q J
D
C
South leads S Q 10 2
H A 2
D
C

Also works if West has A-J-x-x.

7. Repeat finesse

NT win 4 S A 3 2
H A
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. S
Lead
S Q
S J
2nd
5
3rd
2!
4th
7
S K 6 5
H 2
D
C
Table S 9 8 7
H 3
D
C
South leads S Q J 10 4
H
D
C

8. Secondary repeat finesse

NT win 3 S K 4 3 2
H
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. E
3. S
Lead
S J
H 2
S 10
2nd
6
A
3rd
2!
S 7
4th
A
S 3
S Q 8 7 6
H
D
C
Table S A 5
H 3 2
D
C
South leads S J 10 9
H A
D
C

9. Entry retention finesse

NT win 4 S A J 10 3
H
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. S
3. S
Lead
S 9!
S Q
S 2
2nd
6
7
8
3rd
3
10
J
4th
4
5
S K 8 7 6
H
D
C
Table S 5 4
H A K
D
C
South leads S Q 9 2
H 2
D
C

10. Secondary entry retention finesse

NT win 3 S K 10 9 2
H
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. S
Lead
S 8!
S J
2nd
6
3rd
2
4th
4
S A Q 7 6
H
D
C
Table S 5 4
H A K
D
C
South leads S J 8 3
H 2
D
C

11. Delayed repeat finesse

NT win 4 S A Q J
H 2
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. N
3. S
Lead
S 2
H 2
S 3
2nd
5
3
7
3rd
J!
A
Q
4th
8
S 6
S K 7 6 5
H
D
C
Table S 10 9 8
H 3
D
C
South leads S 4 3 2
H A
D
C

12. Secondary delayed repeat finesse

NT win 3 S K J 10
H 2
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. N
3. S
Lead
S 2
H 2
S 3
2nd
5
3
9
3rd
10!
A
J
4th
6
S 8
S Q 9 8 5
H
D
C
Table S A 7 6
H 3
D
C
South leads S 4 3 2
H A
D
C

13. Combined finesse

NT win 2
auto bi?
S A J 10
H 2
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. E
3. W
Lead
S 2
H 3
S 8
2nd
7
S 3
J!
3rd
10!
A
4th
Q
2
S K 8 7
H A
D
C
Table S Q 9 6
H 3
D
C
South leads S 5 4 3 2
H
D
C

14. Secondary combined finesse

NT win 1
auto bi?
S K 10 9
H 2
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. E
3. W
Lead
S 2
H 3
S 8
2nd
7
S 3
10!
3rd
9!
A
A
4th
J
2
S Q 8 7
H A
D
C
Table S A J 6
H 3
D
C
South leads S 5 4 3 2
H
D
C

15. Two-way finesse

NT win 4
auto bi
S A 10 2
H A
D
C
Trick
1. S
Lead
S 3
2nd
7
3rd 4th
S 9 8 7
H 2
D
C
Table S Q 6 5
H 3
D
C
South leads S K J 4 3
H
D
C

Which way to finesse may be a complete guess.

16. Secondary two-way finesse

NT win 3
auto bi
S Q 9 2
H A
D
C
Trick
1. S
Lead
S 3
2nd
7
3rd 4th
S A 8 7
H 2
D
C
Table S J 6 5
H 3
D
C
South leads S K 10 4 3
H
D
C

Options are to finesse 9 or win Q and finesse 10.

17. Backward finesse

NT win 4
auto?
S K 3 2
H A
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. N
3. N
Lead
S J!
H A
S 2
2nd
Q
3
8
3rd
K
S 4
9
4th
7
2
S Q 6 5
H 2
D
C
Table S 10 8 7
H 3
D
C
South leads S A J 9 4
H
D
C

Most common on defense with S Q or S 10 in view.

18. Secondary backward finesse

NT win 3
auto? bi?
S Q 3 2
H A
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. N
Lead
S 10!
S 3
2nd
J
6
3rd
Q
8
4th
5
S A J 7
H 2
D
C
Table S 9 6 5
H 3
D
C
South leads S K 10 8 4
H
D
C

Most common on defense with S J or S 9 in view.

19. Surround attack finesse

NT win 3
auto? bi
S 4 3 2
H A
D
C
Trick
1. S
Lead
S Q!
2nd
K
3rd 4th
S K 9 6
H 2
D
C
Table S J 8 7
H 3
D
C
South leads S A Q 10 5
H
D
C

Most common on defense with S K or S J in view.

20. Secondary surround attack finesse

NT win 2
auto? bi
S 3 2
H 4 3
D
C
Trick
1. S
Lead
S J!
2nd
Q
3rd 4th
S Q 7 5 4
H
D
C
Table S A 10 9
H 2
D
C
South leads S K J 8 6
H
D
C

Most common on defense with S Q or S 10 in view.

21. Tertiary surround attack finesse

NT win 1
auto bi
S 3 2
H 4 3
D
C
Trick
1. S
Lead
S 10!
2nd
J
3rd 4th
S A J 5 4
H
D
C
Table S K 9 7
H 2
D
C
South leads S Q 10 8 6
H
D
C

Most common on defense with S J or S 9 in view.

22. Squash finesse

NT win 2 S A 10
H
D
C
Trick
1. S
Lead
S Q!
2nd
K
3rd
A
4th
J
S K 9
H
D
C
Table S J
H A
D
C
South leads S Q 2
H
D
C

23. Secondary squash finesse

NT win 2 S K 9 3
H
D
C
Trick
1. S
Lead
S J!
2nd 3rd 4th
S A Q 2
H
D
C
Table S 10
H 3 2
D
C
South leads S J 8 4
H
D
C

24. Double squash finesse

NT win 4 S A Q 6
H 2
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. N
3. S
Lead
S 10
H 2
S 9!
2nd
K
Q
3rd
A
A
4th
7
S 4
S K J 5 4
H
D
C
Table S 8 7
H K Q
D
C
South leads S 10 9 2
H A
D
C

25. Secondary double squash finesse

NT win 4 S K 7 6 5
H 2
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. W
3. S
Lead
S J
H 5
S 10!
2nd
A
2
3rd
5
J
4th
8
A
S A Q 4
H 5 4
D
C
Table S 9 8
H K Q J
D
C
South leads S J 10 3 2
H A
D
C

26. Deep finesse

NT win 2
auto bi?
S A Q 9
H 2
D
C
Trick
1. S
Lead
S 2
2nd
8
3rd
9!
4th
K
S J 10 8
H A
D
C
Table S K 7 6
H 3
D
C
South leads S 5 4 3 2
H
D
C

27. Secondary deep finesse

NT win 1
auto bi?
S K J 8
H 2
D
C
Trick
1. S
Lead
S 2
2nd
7
3rd
8!
4th
Q
S 10 9 7
H A
D
C
Table S A Q 6
H 3
D
C
South leads S 5 4 3 2
H
D
C

Appropriate only if East is marked for the ace.

28. Intrafinesse

NT win 3
auto?
S Q 8 3
H A
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. E
3. N
Lead
S 2
H 3
S Q!
2nd
6
2
K
3rd
8!
Q
A
4th
10
A
J
S J 6
H K Q
D
C
Table S K 10 7
H 3
D
C
South leads S A 9 2
H 2
D
C

29. Secondary intrafinesse

NT win 3
auto?
S K 7 5
H A 3
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. E
3. N
4. E
Lead
S 2
H 4
S K!
S 6
2nd
4
2
A
8
3rd
7!
J
3
4th
10
A
9
S 9 4
H K Q J
D
C
Table S A J 10 6
H 4
D
C
South leads S Q 8 3 2
H 2
D
C

30. Preparatory duck finesse

NT win 2 S A J 5
H
D
C
Trick
1. S
Lead
S 2
2nd
K
3rd
5!
4th
6
S K Q 10
H
D
C
Table S 8 7 6
H
D
C
South leads S 4 3 2
H
D
C

31. Obligatory duck finesse

NT win 3 S K 5 4
H 2
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. N
Lead
S 2
S 4
2nd
6
9
3rd
K
3!
4th
8
A
S A 6
H K Q
D
C
Table S J 10 9 8
H
D
C
South leads S Q 3 2
H A
D
C

32. Entry retention combined finesse

NT win 4
auto bi
S A J 10 8
H 4
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. E
3. S
4. S
Lead
S 2!
H K
S 9!
S 3
2nd
5
A
6
7
3rd
J!
3
8
10
4th
K
4
4
S Q 7 6 5
H 3
D
C
Table S K 4
H K Q J
D
C
South leads S 9 3 2
H A 2
D
C

33. Unblock finesse

NT win 3
bi
S Q 4
H A 2
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. W
3. N
Lead
S 5
H K
S 4
2nd
K
A
9
3rd
Q!
3
10
4th
8
S 6
S K 7
H K Q
D
C
Table S J 9 8
H 3
D
C
South leads S A 10 6 5
H
D
C

34. Unblock combined finesse

NT win 3 S A 10 4 3
H 2
D
C
Trick
1. W
2. E
3. S
Lead
S 5
H K
S 2
2nd
3
A
8
3rd
K
S 6
10!
4th
J!
2
S Q 9 8 6 5
H
D
C
Table S K 7
H K Q J
D
C
West leads S J 2
H A 4 3
D
C

35. Unblock duck finesse

NT win 4
auto? bi
S A 8 4 3
H 4 3
D
C
Trick
1. W
2. E
3. S
4. W
5. S
Lead
S 6
H Q
S 10
H 6
S 2
2nd
3
A
K
4
7
3rd
Q
5
4!
9
8!
4th
9!
3
5
K
S K J 7 6
H 6 5
D
C
Table S Q 5
H Q J 10 9
D
C
West leads S 10 9 2
H A K 2
D
C

36. Preparatory unblock finesse

NT win 5
bi
S K Q 9 4 3
H
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. N
3. S
Lead
S 10!
S 3
S 2
2nd
5
H J
7
3rd
K
A
9
4th
8
6
S J 7 6 5
H 4
D
C
Table S 8
H A K Q J
D
C
South leads S A 10 2
H 3 2
D
C

37. Entry retention unblock dual finesse

NT win 5 S A J 2
H A Q
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. S
3. N
4. S
Lead
S Q!
S 10
S 2
H 2
2nd
3
K
7
4
3rd
J!
A
9
Q
4th
5
6
4
S K 4 3
H K 4
D
C
Table S 8 7 6 5
H 5
D
C
South leads S Q 10 9
H 3 2
D
C

38. Forced revelation double finesse

NT win 5
bi
S A J 8 4
H 2
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. S
3. N
4. S
Lead
S K
S 10!
H 2
S 2
2nd
6
Q
5
7
3rd
4
A
A
8
4th
5
H 4
3
S Q 9 7 6
H 3
D
C
Table S 5
H 7 6 5 4
D
C
South leads S K 10 3 2
H A
D
C

39. High-risk finesse

NT win 4 S K J
H
D 3 2
C
Trick
1. S
Lead
S 2
2nd
9
3rd
J!
4th
S Q 10 9
H
D 4
C
Table S 8 7
H
D 10 9
C
South leads S A 3 2
H
D A
C

If East has S Q, South wins only 2 tricks.

40. Finesse refusal establishment

NT win 3
auto bi
S A Q
H 3 2
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. N
Lead
S 3
S Q
2nd
8
3rd
A!
4th
2
S 10 9 8
H 4
D
C
Table S K 2
H K 5
D
C
South leads S J 4 3
H A
D
C

41. Finesse refusal entry

NT win 5
auto bi
S Q J 9
H K Q J
D
C
Trick
1. W
2. S
3. S
Lead
S 6
H A
S 2
2nd
Q
2
3rd
3
J
4th
A!
3
S K 8 7 6
H 2
D 3
C
Table S 5 4 3
H 3
D K Q
C
West leads S A 10 2
H A
D A 2
C

42. Overtake entry finesse

NT win 6
bi
S A Q 10
H 5 4 3
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. N
3. S
Lead
S K!
H 3
S 2
2nd
7
6
8
3rd
A!
Q
10
4th
D 2
9
D 3
S J 9 8 7
H 10 9
D
C
Table S
H K 8 7 6
D 3 2
C
South leads S K 2
H A Q J 2
D
C

43. Overtake gambit entry finesse

NT win 6
bi
S A K 2
H 4 3 2
D
C
Trick
1. S
2. N
3. S
4. N
Lead
S J
H 2
S Q
H 3
2nd
5
9
6
3rd
K!
Q
A!
4th
8
6
9
S 7 6 5
H 8 7 6
D
C
Table S 10 9 8
H K 10 9
D
C
South leads S Q J
H A Q J 5
D
C

44. Finesse-assist duck

NT win 2
auto bi
S Q 4 3
H
D
C
Trick
1. W
Lead
S J
2nd
3
3rd
6
4th
2!
S J 10 8
H
D
C
Table S K 7 6
H
D
C
West leads S A 9 2
H
D
C

If North is dummy, play assumes West has S 10.

45. Gambit entry finesse

NT win 5
not
S A J
H 4 3 2
D
C
Trick
1. S
Lead
S 2
2nd
7?
3rd
J!
4th
9
S Q 8 7
H 6 5
D
C
Table S 10 9
H K 10 9
D
C
South leads S K 2
H A Q J
D
C

West can defeat, but S Q hop is rare in practice.

46. Winner retention anti one-suit squeeze

NT win 4 S A Q J 8
H
D
C
Trick
1. S
Lead
S 10!
2nd 3rd 4th
S K 9 4
H 2
D
C
Table S 7 6 5
H 3
D
C
South leads S 10 3 2
H A
D
C

47. Entry duck unblock finesse

NT win 3
bi
S A 9 8
H 5 4 3
D
C
Trick
1. W
Lead
S K
2nd
8!
3rd
3
4th
10!
S K Q 7 6
H 9 6
D
C
Table S 5 4 3
H A K J
D
C
West leads S J 10 2
H Q 10 2
D
C

48. Forced entry unblock finesse

NT win 3 S 10 9 8
H 4 3
D
C
Trick
1. W
Lead
S K
2nd
8
3rd
3
4th
J!
S K Q 7 6 5
H
D
C
Table S 4 3
H A Q J
D
C
West leads S A J 2
H K 2
D
C

49. Entry hop and unblock finesse

NT win 3
auto? bi
S J 10 2
H 3 2
D
C
Trick
1. W
Lead
S 6
2nd
J!
3rd
A
4th
K!
S Q 8 7 6
H 4
D
C
Table S A 9 5
H K J
D
C
West leads S K 4 3
H A Q
D
C

50. Insurance finesse

NT win 5
auto bi
S A K Q 10 9
H 5
D
C
Trick
1. S
Lead
S 2
2nd
4
3rd
10!
4th
J
S 5 4
H K Q 9 8
D
C
Table S J 8 7 6
H J 10
D
C
South leads S 3 2
H A 4 3 2
D
C

Ensures 5 tricks at the cost of 1 if S J fell.

51. Avoidance finesse

NT win 4
auto?
S A 9 2
H A 2
D
C
Trick
1. S
Lead
S 3
2nd
6
3rd
9!
4th
S J 7 6
H 3
D A
C
Table S Q 8
H K Q J
D
C
South leads S K 10 5 4 3
H
D
C
TopMain

Anti finesse

52. Cover anti finesse

NT win 1
auto bi
S K 3 2
H
D
C
Trick
1. W
Lead
S Q
2nd
K!
3rd 4th
S Q 9 8
H
D
C
Table S A J 7
H
D
C
West leads S 10 5 4
H
D
C

53. Non-cover anti finesse

NT win 1
auto bi
S K 3 2
H
D
C
Trick
1. W
Lead
S Q
2nd
2!
3rd 4th
S Q J 9
H
D
C
Table S A 8 7
H
D
C
West leads S 10 5 4
H
D
C

54. High cover anti finesse

NT win 3
not?
S K J 6
H 5 4
D
C
Trick
1. W
2. N
Lead
S 9?
H 5!
2nd
K!
3rd
4
4th
3
S 10 9 7
H A 6
D
C
Table S Q 5 4
H K Q
D
C
West leads S A 8 3
H 3 2
D
C

With exit North only needs South to have S 8.

55. Middle cover anti finesse

NT win 4
not?
S K J 6
H K Q
D
C
Trick
1. W
2. S
Lead
S 9?
S 8!
2nd
J!
3rd
Q
4th
A
S 10 9 3
H A 4
D
C
Table S Q 5 4
H 6 5
D
C
West leads S A 8 7
H 3 2
D
C

Without exit North must hope South has S 8-7.

56. Repeat cover anti finesse

NT win 1
auto bi
S Q J 7 4
H 3 2
D
C
Trick
1. W
2. E
3. W
4. E
5. W
Lead
S 8
H 4
S 9
H 5
S 6
2nd
Q!
8
J!
10
7
3rd
K
A
A
K
4th
5
2
H 9
3
S 9 8 6 2
H A K
D
C
Table S A K 10 3
H 5 4
D
C
West leads S 5
H Q J 10 9 8
D
C

57. Non-cover anti finesse establishment

NT win 2
auto bi
S K 10 7 6
H J 10
D
C
Trick
1. W
2. W
Lead
S Q
S J
2nd
6!
7!
3rd
3
4
4th
2
H 7
S Q J 5
H A 4 3
D
C
Table S A 9 8 4 3
H 2
D
C
West leads S 2
H K Q 9 8 7
D
C

58. Entry block anti finesse

NT win 1
auto
S Q 9 8
H 8 7 6
D
C
Trick
1. W
Lead
S 3
2nd
Q!
3rd 4th
S K J 3
H A Q J
D
C
Table S A 10 4
H 5 4 3
D
C
West leads S 7 6 5
H K 10 9
D
C

59. Entry block anti combined finesse

NT win 3
bi
S Q 2
H A J 10
D
C
Trick
1. W
Lead
S 5
2nd
Q!
3rd 4th
S 6 5
H K Q 6
D
C
Table S A J 10
H 5 4
D
C
West leads S K 4 3
H 3 2
D
C

If West leads H K first, North must duck.

60. Entry denial hop anti finesse

NT win 2
auto
S A 8 7 6
H 5 4
D
C
Trick
1. W
2. N
Lead
S 5
S 6
2nd
A!
3rd
9
4th
2
S Q J 5
H A Q J
D
C
Table S K 10 9
H 8 7 6
D
C
West leads S 4 3 2
H K 10 9
D
C

If S Q or S J led, North must duck.

61. Finesse refusal anti establishment

NT win 2
bi
S 4 3 2
H K Q
D
C
Trick
1. W
Lead
S J
2nd
2
3rd
9
4th
5!
S J 8
H A J 3
D
C
Table S A Q 10 9
H 2
D
C
West leads S K 6 5
H 5 4
D
C

62. Duck to avail guess

NT win 2
not
S J 6 5
H 2
D
C
Trick
1. W
2. E
3. W
Lead
S 7
H 3
S 8
2nd
5
4
6
3rd
K
A
4th
3!
2
S 9 8 7
H A
D
C
Table S K Q 10
H 3
D
C
West leads S A 4 3
H 4
D
C

Presumes dummy is West or East.

63. Cover to avail guess

NT win 2
not
S A Q 5
H 2
D
C
Trick
1. W
2. E
3. W
Lead
S 10
H 3
S 6
2nd
Q!
4
5
3rd
K
A
4th
3
2
S 10 7 6
H A
D
C
Table S K J 8
H 3
D
C
West leads S 9 4 3
H 4
D
C

Presumes dummy is West or East.

64. Duck to avail finesse

NT win 2
not
S J 9
H K Q
D
C
Trick
1. W
2. E
Lead
S 5
S 7
2nd
9
4
3rd
Q
4th
3!
S K 10 5
H A
D
C
Table S Q 8 7
H 3
D
C
West leads S A 4 3
H 2
D
C

Presumes dummy is West or East.

65. Known card release to avail finesse

NT win 1
not
S Q 10 2
H 5
D
C
Trick
1. W
2. E
3. E
Lead
S 7
S A
S 3
2nd
2
5
6
3rd
J
8
4th
4
Q!
S K 9 8 7
H
D
C
Table S A J 3
H 2
D
C
West leads S 6 5 4
H 4
D
C

Presumes dummy is West or East. TopMain

© 2013 Richard Pavlicek