McCook Daily Gazette – 27 Feb 1996

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Phillip Alder
Phillip Alder

During the play of a bridge deal, clues flutter around the table like fire-flies on a summer’s night. The hard part is spotting them. Yet help is now at hand. Albert Dormer has written an excellent book, «Dormer on Deduction».

Be warned that some deals are difficult, but I think Dormer has the best writing style of any bridge author, molding the words into delightful sentences. This alone makes the book a pleasure to read.

Today’s deal is one of Dormer’s easiest. Against four spades, West leads the diamond ace: three, queen, two. West continues with the diamond king and another diamond. You ruff, play a trump to dummy’s king, which wins, and a trump to your queen, West signaling with the heart nine.

East takes your next spade play with the ace (West discarding the heart three) and switches to the 10.

Should you finesse the queen or go up with the ace and play for the clubs to break 3-3?

Maybe you played the heart queen, thinking that a finesse is 50/50 whereas a 3-3 break will occur only about one-third of the time. True, but bridge logic is more important than percentages. East’s diamond queen at trick one showed the jack. If West held the heart king, he would have underled his diamond king at trick two. East would have switched to a heart at trick three, defeating the contract.

As West didn’t defend like that, he cannot have the heart king. So. take the heart finesse, draw East’s last trump and claim.