Faced with a choice of finesses in Six Spades on this deal from rubber bridge, South had a problem. If he took the wrong finesse first, it would be too late to try the second. It would have been easy to miss the best psychological play.

South opened 14 and North responded 2NT - a conventional bid, agreeing spades, forcing to game, and inviting partner to show a shortage if he was interested in progressing beyond game. South dutifully bid 3! and, although this did not improve North's hand (he would have loved to hear 3#!) he pushed on with a cue-bid of 4#. After all, the bidding was still below the game level. South needed no further encouragement and the final contract was 64 against which West led the 2K.

Well, after winning and drawing trumps, would you finesse in hearts or diamonds? In a pairs competition you might be tempted to pin your hopes on the diamonds for, if the finesse wins, you will make an invaluable overtrick.

At rubber bridge, however, the extra 30 points are unimportant. The best bet, after drawing trumps, is to lead the #Q from hand at trick four. If West shows no sign of interest (and he might well have had a problem if he had started with the #K), go up with dummy's ace and rely on the heart finesse. This play also gives the extra chance of finding East with the singleton #K.

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