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Bridge 8/20
You can get lucky twice
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    When you must decide between two lines of play, usually you will take the mathematically superior one. For example, suppose you need either a finesse to work or a suit to divide 3-3. You should go for the finesse because it is a 50 percent chance and a 3-3 break is only 35.53 percent.
    Occasionally, though, you can combine these chances — as in this deal.
    You are in three no-trump and West leads the heart jack: four, king, ace. What would be your line of play?
    You have five top tricks: two spades, two hearts (given trick one) and one club. You can get to nine easily if you peek at the full layout. But the correct play is to lead the diamond queen from your hand at trick two. If it wins, cross to dummy in spades and take the club finesse. At the worst, you win nine tricks via two spades, two hearts, one diamond and four clubs.
    If, though, a defender takes your diamond queen with his ace and returns a heart, win the trick, cash the diamond jack, play a spade to dummy's king, and take the diamond king. Did the six missing diamonds split 3-3? If so, claim two spades, two hearts, four diamonds and one club. If not, take the club finesse, hoping for the best.
    In this last variation, you get home if either diamonds are 3-3 or the club finesse works. That is approximately a 67.8 percent line.
    Note that if you immediately cross to dummy in spades and take the club finesse, you should fail. East should drop the spade queen under dummy's king, and West should return a spade when in with the club king.
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