Pastimes; Bridge

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Game all; dealer North


4K 4

!8 7 5 2

#10 4 3

2A K Q 3

West East

46 4A 7 5 3

!J 9 4 3 !K 10 6

#A K 7 6 #Q J 9 5

210 7 4 2 2J 8


4Q J 10 9 8 2

!A Q

#8 2

29 6 5

Quite the best bridge book that I have read for some time is Dormer on Deception. Albert Dormer, whether on his own or as co-author with Terence Reese, is one of our most lucid writers. Take this simple example from his chapter in "Influences in the Middle Game".

North opened One Club, South responded One Spade, and North suggested a minimum opening by rebidding One No-Trump. South invited game with a jump to Three Spades and, with his prime cards, North accepted.

West led the ace of diamonds against Four Spades and East signalled with his queen. West continued with the king and another diamond, which South ruffed. Declarer started on trumps but East held off until the third round before winning. On the second round West petered heavily by discarding the nine of hearts. Now East switched to the ten of hearts.

The question posed was whether declarer should finesse the queen of hearts or rely on an even break in clubs for his tenth trick. Seeing all four hands you know the answer, but why should you find it at the table?

As Albert points out, East's play of the queen of diamonds on the first trick marks him with the jack. If West had held the king of hearts, he would assuredly have led a low diamond (not the king) to put his partner in for an immediate heart return, giving declarer no option but to finesse.