Rome News-Tribune – 26 Feb 2002

Dealer: South Vulnerable: East-West

Many players commit «suicide» at the bridge table, killing contracts that should have been kept alive. Here, you reach five diamonds.

West leads the club two.

Defending strongly, East wins with the queen, cashes the club ace, then shifts to a low heart. How would you continue? The auction was effective. North’s raise to three diamonds invited game, showing support with about 11 high-card points. South tried three hearts to indicate a stopper there; he was hoping North could convert to three no-trump with something in clubs. However, with nothing in that suit, North went for the minor-suit game.

This is the key question: Suppose the heart finesse wins—what then?

The answer, of course, is that you draw trumps and take a spade finesse. If it wins, you are home; but if it loses, you are down. Yet if the spade finesse is winning, you do not need the heart finesse, which is a potentially suicidal risk. Win trick three with the heart ace, draw trumps ending in hand, and play a spade to dummy’s jack. When it wins, return to hand with a trump, repeat the spade finesse, discard the heart queen on the spade ace, and claim.