# Valuable Lessons

Dlr:
South
Vul:
N-S
North
♠ J 8 2
K J 8 5
A Q J 6
♣ K 5
South
♠ A K Q 9 5 3
10 9 4
9 3
♣ A Q
 West North East South 1♠ Pass 2♦ Pass 3♠ Pass 4NT Pass 5♣ Pass 5♦ Pass 6♠ All Pass

Most players would bid the North-South cards to slam – and you and partner are no exception. Against your slam, West starts with the ♣J. How do you plan to take 12 tricks on this deal?

## Solution

This deal was played in an intermediate class on finesses.

West’s opening lead was the ♣J; this was won in hand with the ♣Q. After drawing trumps with the ace and king, all but one of the declarers played a diamond to the queen and king. Every East in this situation cashed the A to set the contract.

When asked, the successful declarer said, “If I’d played on diamonds and the finesse had succeeded, I would still have had to guess how to play the heart suit. On the other hand, if I played West for the queen of hearts, as I did by running the ten at trick four, I would always make the contract when that finesse succeeded. As the choice was between the diamond finesse and a later guess in hearts, as opposed to a simple finesse against the queen of hearts, I went for the less-complicated approach of the latter plan.”

The teacher then summed up the lesson as, “When you have a choice of two finesses, try to assess whether taking one of them first allows you to avoid the other one, as here.” The full deal:

Dlr:
South
Vul:
N-S
North
♠ J 8 2
K J 8 5
A Q J 6
♣ K 5
West
♠ 10 7
Q 6 3 2
10 4 2
♣ J 10 9 7
East
♠ 6 4
A 7
K 8 7 5
♣ 8 6 4 3 2
South
♠ A K Q 9 5 3
10 9 4
9 3
♣ A Q