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Play Bridge: The finessing type of end play

None Vulnerable - Warren Watson
None Vulnerable
— image credit: Warren Watson

Today’s column is the 200th column published in the Trail Times and shows the finessing type of end play.

At the end of June, we saw a type of end play executed by discarding a loser. In both types, the declarer draws trump, performs an elimination removing the defenders’ safe exit cards, and then throws a defender in with the lead. The defender is forced to make an exit favourable to the declarer.

The bidding: South opens one spade, and North bids Jacoby two No Trump showing four-card support and an opening hand. South is required to bid a singleton or void at the three level or a second strong suit at the four-level. With a minimum, South will jump to game but with 15 to 17, he bids three No Trump. With a five-four major fit or better, one will never play three No Trump, but one will bid it expressing mild slam interest. Bidding three of the major shows a stronger slam interest, 18 plus points. The bids after 3NT are cuebids and South bids slam.

It should be noted, that one never uses an ace-asking bid with two quick losers in any one suit. Blackwood is also not used with a void.

The Lead: Ten of hearts. A passive lead against a slam is often required.

The play: Declarer wins the opening lead and draws trump. He cashes the second heart honour and ruffs a heart, takes the diamond finesse and ruffs the last heart. He cashes the Ace of diamonds, and the defenders have no safe exit when they win a club trick. Declarer now plays a small club to the 9, covering whatever East plays.

West wins the club and is forced to lead another club giving declarer his contract. A sluff-and-a-ruff would also give declarer his contract.

Result: Six spades making for +980.

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