Bali 2013: The Intrafinesse a Pending Topic

Bobby Levin
Bobby Levin

This is how Bob Crosby explains what an «Intrafinesse» is:

When you have patterns memorized you can “[ilink url=»″]Think in Patterns[/ilink] ” . This allows you to make some advanced plays with card combinations because you can “visualize” the opponents holdings in the suit. One of these advanced plays is the “intra” finessse. Intra is from Latin meaning within. In the  Bridge sense , this means that you are finessing within two honours. The intra finesse always involves a 2nd round smother or pinning play. Here is an example.


Q 8 5 3


 J 7


K 10 4


A 9 6 2






The bidding has given you quite a good idea of the layout of this suit. To hold yourself to one loser, you play small towards the dummy and finesse the 8! East will make the 10 but later you will enter the North hand and lead the queen, pinning West’s jack. Well, this was an Intra-finesse.

Another articles about the Intrafinesse: [ilink url=»″]I Love Finesses by Gabriel Chagas[/ilink]

After winning the Round Robin and beating Canada in Quarterfinals, USA1 was defeated by Monaco in the semi-finals. This is a board where USA 1 took 10 IMPs from Monaco in the SF.

The Intrafinesse is a play technique that appears much more often that what many bridge advanced players believe. However, there are many expert players who do not have developed their eye to find positions to execute it. Can it be because it is not considered as common and therefore not so necessary?. That’s why many players when on a world class event like the Bermuda Bowl can see a player running it feel surprised and admired.

USA1-Monaco SF 4th set

USA1: Bathurst-Dwyer & Levin-Weinstein

Monaco: Zimmermann-Multon y Fantoni- Nunes

When the set was 43 to 22 for Monaco Board 29 appeared over the table:

Board 29. Dealer North. All Vulnerable.
  Q T 8
K J T 8 6 4 3
T 2
J 9 5 3
A Q 5 3
A 8 5 4
  K 2
A Q 7 5
J T 6 2
Q 9 7
  A 7 6 4
K 9 8 4
K J 6 3


West North East South
Weinstein Fantoni Levin Nunes
  3 Pass Pass
Double Pass 3NT The End

All Vulnerables, North opened 3. After two Pass, West reopened with double and y East chose to say 3NT.

Lead: 9

Levin-Weinstein en accion
Levin-Weinstein en accion

West played dummy’s 2, North the 10. Declarer won in his hand with the Q and continued with the J. South covered with his K and dummy’s A won the trick.

And the club Intrafinesse first step begun. Levin played the 4, and when Fantoni played his 2, declarer continued with his 9. Nunes won with his J and returned a spade. Declarer’s K won the trick, and the club Intrafinesse second step begun: he played his Q.

And like a magic pass, in only one trick all the opps honors disappeared, South covered declarer’s queen with his K, Levin played dummy’s A watching Fantoni play his 10.

Levin continued with a club to his 7, lose the spade finesse (he was looking for an overtrick), but win the heart return and claimed 9 tricks: one spade, two hearts, 3 clubs and three diamonds.

At the other table E/W chose to play 3X, one down = 200. The board gave USA1, 9 IMPs.

This is an example of a hand that you can only win if you run an intrafinesse, in this case a club intrafinesse. Declarer needs three tricks in the club suit to bring his contract home. This board was played in the semifinals of the three world championships. In the total of 12 tables in which this board was played: 5 tables played 3X, 7 tables chose to play 3NT, but only 3 of them, could arrive to 9 tricks.

Intrafinesse a pending topic?…Not for Bobby Levin, but…