I found the much-vaunted Ask Zia, by Zia Mahmood and David Burn (Metro, pounds 5.99) a little disappointing. Racily written (dare I suggest, hastily-written, too, for at least twice the analysis bears little or no relation to the hand, and few real-life bridge hands contain either 12 or 14 cards), it still contains much amusing and sensible advice.

One question Zia was asked: "Experts always guess a two-way finesse correctly. How can I learn to do so too?"

As Zia points out, experts only get it right more often than not. Sometimes, however, it can become a certainty. On this deal, South landed in Seven No-trumps and West led the #Q. There were 12 top winners and clearly everything depended on the view he took in spades.

The key point is that there is absolutely no hurry to take a guess in spades. The authors take the reader through a step-by-step counting process. After winning with the #A, declarer plays off four rounds of hearts to see East discarding two spades - so West started with four hearts. Next, four rounds of clubs expose the position in that suit when West discards two diamonds. Finally a diamond to the king sees East out.

So West has been proved to have started with a 1-4-6-2 distribution and, after cashing the 4K, declarer can finesse the ten with complete confidence.

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