Tall All Your Chances


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North
♠ A 10 7 6
K 3 2
A 6 2
♣ J 6 3
 South
♠ K Q J 9 8 5
A J 4
3
♣ K 5 4

West opens 2, weak, partner passes, East bids 3, you join in with 3♠ and partner is happy to boost you to 4♠. West leads the Q. Plan the play.

After stripping diamonds and drawing trumps, you could take three finesses and if just one of them worked (a rousing 87%) you would make your game. Those three finesses are leading up the ♣K and if that loses, leading up to the ♣J and if that loses taking the heart finesse. Could you be so unlucky that all three finesses would lose?

You deserve to go down if you took the ‘three finesse line’ when there is a 100% line available. After stripping diamonds and drawing trumps, play the A K J. Whoever wins has to break clubs or give you a ruff and sluff. The most you can lose is two club tricks and a heart no matter how the clubs or heart honors are divided.

Notice that you have two equally divided side suits, clubs and hearts. It is more important to throw them in with a heart to force a club play than vice versa. Forcing a club play means you can’t possibly lose more than two clubs and one heart. If you throw them in with a club to force a heart return, you could lose three clubs and a heart. (East wins the third club and West has the Q).

These are the throw-in steps:

  1. Draw trumps leaving trumps in both hands.
  2. Coordinate the drawing of trumps with stripping a side suit (diamonds) if necessary.
  3. Throw them in with an equal length side suit (hearts), at the same time stripping that suit from both your hand and dummy.
  4. Sit back and wait for them to lead your ‘touchy’ suit (clubs) or give you a ruff and sluff.

Tip #1: With touchy side suits (there are oodles), the idea is to force the opponents to lead the suit first.

Tip #2: If your only losers are in a ‘touchy suit’ meaning you have to play the suit first, strip the hand, if possible, before attacking the suit. Good things can happen; very good things, wonderful things.

♠ A 10 7 6
K 3 2
A 6 2
♣ J 6 3
♠ 3 ♠ 4 2
Q 9 5 10 8 7 6
Q J 10 9 7 5 K 8 4
♣ A 7 2 ♣ Q 10 9 7
♠ K Q J 9 8 5
A J 4
3
♣ K 5 4