Take All Your Chances


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

After you open 4, partner checks to make sure you have an ace and sets you down in 6. Opening lead: ♣K: Plan the play.

You have two possible losers, a spade and a diamond, and you have two chances to get rid of at least one or them.

You can take the diamond finesse. If it wins, you make an overtrick, if it loses you are down one as the ♠A is the setting trick. Alternatively, you can lead up to the ♠K first. If West has the ace, you won’t need the diamond finesse as a diamond goes off on the ♠K assuming West goes up with the ace. If West plays low, the king wins and you can take the diamond finesse for an overtrick. If East tops the ♠K with the ace, you still have the diamond finesse available.

Tip: When two lines of play are available, take the one that gives you a chance (keeps you alive) to use the other if the first fails. Expect this theme (‘staying alive’) to appear time and again in this set of hands, just as at the table. Lead up to the ♠K to stay alive.

Percentage-wise if you lead up to the ♠K first and that doesn’t work and then take the diamond finesse you have a 75% chance of making the hand. (One of two finesses.)

If you put all of your eggs in the diamond finesse basket you only have a 50% chance of making the hand.

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