Brian Senior
Brian Senior
A FINESSE is a 50 and 50 proposition and even a double finesse, for example, 5-4-3 opposite AJ10 is only about 75%. How much better then, if you can avoid taking the finesse altogether. Obviously, this can be done If you have sufficient tricks elsewhere so you don’t need the finesse; the other possibility is to force your opponent to lead the suit for you to end-play them. An end-play will work only If you have first eliminated the other suits, so that there is no safe exit for the defence. Whatever suit they lead back is to your advantage. Here are some suit combinations to look out for when considering an endplay. No doubt you can think of others:
  • AQ9 opposite 432 needing 2 tricks
  • AJ10 opposite 432 needing 2 tricks
  • A102 opposite K93 needing 3 tricks
  • A102 opposite K93 needing 3 tricks
  • J92 opposite Q43 needing 1 trick
  • KJ2 opposite 543 needing 1 trick
  • K102 opposite 543 needing 1 trick
  • QJ2 opposite 543 needing 1 trick
This hand came up in an international tournament: West                          East
Spade Suit7 6 4 2 Heart SuitA K Q J 5 Diamond SuitK club suitQ 6 4 Spade SuitA J 10 Heart Suit8 7 6 4 2 Diamond SuitQ club suitA 8 5 3
North led a low club against West’s 4Heart Suitcontract and declarer ducked In dummy, losing to South’s king. Back came a trump. Declarer won, North following, and drew the last trump. Now she took a spade finesse, losing to the king. A diamond was played to North’s ace and a second spade was played. After some agonising, declarer finessed again and breathed a sigh of relief when this was successful. The contract made but there was no need to take the risk of both spade honours being offside. After drawing trumps, declarer should play queen, ace and ruff the last club and then exit with the Diamond SuitK. North wins with the ace and plays a spade through, but declarer finesses and what’s South to do after winning the trick? A spade return is Into the remaining tenace while a diamond allows declarer to ruff In hand and discard dummy’s spade loser. The elimination and end-play turns the 75% double finesse into a 100% certain success.