Bridge

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The Independent Culture
Most pairs reached Three No-trumps on this deal and most pairs made their nine tricks. However, those that went off missed a simple point in the play, there being a right and a wrong way to take the heart finesse to maximise possibilities.

East passed and South opened a weak One No-trump. North enquired for the majors with a Stayman bid of Two Clubs. South bid Two Spades and North jumped to 3NT.

West led the queen of diamonds and South realised that playing on clubs would be too slow as the defence would come to three tricks in the suit, plus at least two diamonds - three as the cards lie.

Two tricks are available in diamonds, three sure tricks in spades and the hearts will always produce three tricks, which-ever direction the finesse for the queen is taken. But the only way to take the heart finesse to give the possibility of four tricks in the suit is by finessing the 10, playing for East to hold Queen to three or fewer.

Now the contract comes home, even if the spades don't divide 3-3. And should the heart finesse fail, or East hold queen to four or more, there's still the hope that the spades behave.

One more trap. You cannot afford to duck the opening diamond lead because if the heart finesse fails there are five tricks immediately available to the defence.

So - win the opening lead with the king of diamonds in dummy and finesse the 10 of hearts. With East holding _Qxx there are now nine tricks for the taking.

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