0 out of 6 finesses
Thursday, 6 October 2011
You enter the club a few minutes before game time, IMP pairs. When you sit down, the opponents are kind enough to offer a round of coffee for the table. While that is being served, you pick up ♠7, ♥8753, ♦AQJ53, ♣AKQ. Despite the 16 high card points not a very nice hand. 1♦ and then (over the expected 1♠ or 1NT), into 2♥ looks like an overbid with such a horrible suit, 1NT gets the range right but isn’t very attractive either with an unbalanced hand with 2 bad suits, 1♦ and then 2♦ looks like an underbid. Underbidding is not a good thing at imp’s, so you try 1♦, the expected 1♠ from partner, 2♥ and now 3♦ forcing and constructive. You put on the breaks by bidding 3NT and get to play there. Dummy comes down and isn’t quite what you expected:
Partner has a good excuse: with all those face cards, it was easy to miscount her points. Play on a small heart lead is easy: up with the K, LHO has underled from Axxxx, diamond from the dummy, 10, J, small. ♦A, small, small, king. Claim, for +12 imp.
The next board is more challenging. You get to 6♣ with no bidding from the opponents after 1♣, 1♥, 3♣, 4♣ and a couple of cuebids. ♠K lead. Lots of options with 6 possible finesses, 2 in each suit except spades. So, which ones to take?
For starters: don’t take any. Start with a club to the A, spade ruff and the ♣K. If the trumps break, you are now home without taking any finesses: cross to the ♦K, ruff the last spade, cash the ♦A and play the last ♦. Whoever wins, is endplayed and you make the contract with 0 out of 6 finesses.
If clubs don’t break, it is time for a Zia coupe: lead the ♥J and if they don’t cover, overtake and finesse the other way. And, by the way, don’t touch those diamonds, even if you guess right, you still have to get the hearts right, and if you guess wrong, you are down before you took the chance to make the contract.
In practice, the hand plays itself: clubs don’t break with W holding Qxx and east discarding a heart on the second round. When you lead a heart, W turns out to have a singleton Q and you can claim.
Another 12, to start the evening off with +24. The opponents feel even more miserable when the waiter comes with the check for the coffee.