By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Bridge 7/11
A key finesse for third hand
Placeholder Image
    Poet and critic Ezra Pound wrote, "With one day's reading a man may have the key in his hands."
    We have been looking at key plays for the third hand to make, particularly at trick one. This deal features another, which you will read in well under one day. Against three no-trump, West leads the heart four. After declarer calls for dummy's seven, how should East plan the defense?
    South should not worry about his doubleton heart. It is partner's responsibility to cover a weak suit.
    East should bear in mind two key principles. First, that leading fourth highest in an unbid suit guarantees an honor in that suit. And since East can see the ace, king, jack and 10 on the board and in his hand, he knows that West must have the queen. This should make it easy to play the 10, finessing against partner, as it is called.
    When East wins the first trick, he continues with the heart king, the higher of two remaining cards, and plays a third round to dislodge dummy's ace. West then gets in with his spade ace and cashes two heart tricks for down one.
    What if East could not be sure about the heart position? Here is the guideline: Ignore the ace if it is on the board. When dummy has one lower honor, and third hand holds the honor one higher than dummy's, after dummy plays low, (normally) third hand saves his higher honor when he can insert the eight or higher. And when, as here, third hand's honor is two higher than dummy's, (normally) third hand saves that honor when he can play the nine or higher. So East puts in his heart 10.
Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter