Bridge column, September 24: It is a minor-suit finessing quandary
Let's hope MapQuest or your GPS can tell you. But at the bridge table, you are not allowed that sort of assistance. You must decide which way to turn. Consider both options, working out their pros and cons.
In this deal, South is in three no-trump. West leads the heart seven: three, jack, king. What should declarer do next?
South starts with seven top tricks: four spades, one heart, one diamond and one club. Playing on diamonds might work, but is against the odds. And here, East gets in with his king and returns a heart. Declarer loses four tricks in the suit to go down one. (West is known to have the heart ace when East does not play that card at trick one.)
How about the clubs? At least that finesse is into West, the safe hand, who cannot play another heart without conceding a second trick in the suit to declarer. So that must be the right approach. But South must be careful to cash his spade king first. If he crosses immediately to dummy and finesses in clubs, a clever West will win and shift to a diamond.
After the spade king and a spade, South runs the club jack. West wins and plays a diamond, but declarer takes dummy's ace, cashes the remaining spades, runs the club 10, takes another club finesse, and claims. He wins four spades, one heart, one diamond and three clubs. If a defensive point has occurred to you, tune in again tomorrow.
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