St. Petersburg Times – Feb 3, 1969
One of the problems you run into if you play bridge too well is that the opponents sometimes suspect you of peeking at their cards. You can clear yourself if they speak up, but what can you do if they just frown and find other people to play against?
When today’s hand was dealt some years ago in a rubber bridge game in New York, South won the first trick with the ace of clubs, drew three rounds of trumps and cashed the king of hearts. So far, so-so.
Nothing unusual bad happened, on the next trick South led the deuce of hearts, and West followed with the nine. South thought for a moment and then tried a finesse with dummy’s ten of hearts. East discarded a low club, and West clutched convulsively at his cards, practically burying them in his chest. It was easy to see that West suspected the worst of declarer.
South had no further problems. He discarded two spades on the ace and queen of hearts and eventually lost one spade trick. We know of c0urse, that South didn’t peek. His peculiar finesse assured the slam regardless of which player held the Jack of hearts.
If West held the jack, as he did, the ten of hearts would win, and South would discard two spades on the ace and queen of hearts.
If East held the jack of hearts, the finesse would lose, but then the suit would break no worse than 4-2. South could eventually discard three spades on the rest of dummy’s hearts. If South had failed to take the heart finesse he might have gone down. Dummy’s hearts would furnish only one discard, and South might lose two spade tricks.