Spokane Chronicle – 31 May 1991 by Charles Goren

Both Vulnerable North deals

Opening lead: 8

Albert Morehead
Albert Morehead

All players are familiar with the standard finesses, those involving the king or queen of a suit. Of all the many hands we have seen involving a variety of finesses, this one is still our favorite. It was played many years ago by the late Albert H. Morehead, lexicographer par excellence and still one of the great player-writers in the game’s history. Among other things, it illustrates how a good player pays attention to all the spot cards as they fall.

The auction cannot be considered a thing of beauty. It did have the advantage of brevity and, since North did have diamonds controlled, it got North-South to an excellent slam. West led the eight of spades and declarer could see the possibility of losing a trick in spades and diamonds. However, there were many ways one of the losers could be avoided.

The first step in the campaign was to cover the 8 with the 9, fetching the J from East and taken by declarer’s K. Trumps were, drawn in three rounds, ending in dummy, and the 10 was led, forcing East to play the queen. Declarer took his A and was delighted to see West’s 7. Since that was the master spade at this point, it was obvious that West had led from a doubleton.

The rest was simple.

Declarer crossed to the table with the A, led the 2, when East produced the 3, finessed the 4! When that won, as expected, declarer discarded a diamond on the 6. After cashing the ace of diamonds and K, declarer was able to ruff the diamond loser on the board to collect an unexpected overtrick. A record had been set for the cheapest finesse in history.