Freddie North

Source: https://www.ebu.co.uk/ Frederick Lumsden North (1921-2009). Freddie North was one of the first bridge professionals of post-war England. In 1950, he opened The Sussex School of Bridge, which flourished until his retirement in 2000.

He won the National Pairs in 1952 in partnership with Chris Hunt, The Field Cup in 1958 opposite the great Maurice Harrison-Gray, and The Daily Telegraph Cup four times (1950, 1955-56, 1963 and 1967). In tandem with John Pugh, Freddie won the Pachabo twice (1959 and 1962) representing Sussex CBA, of which he was President for nearly thirty years from 1972. They also won the Gold Cup in 1962, playing with Harrison-Gray, Rockfelt and the Sharples brothers, and Crockfords in 1967 with Louis Tarlo and Claude Rodrigue as team-mates.

Freddie represented Great Britain in the World Pairs Olympiad of 1962 and 1966, and played with Dimmie Fleming in the 1962 World Pairs.

One of the early rules we learn is, ‘Don’t finesse against partner.’ Suppose West leads the jack of diamonds against South’s contract of 3NT (1NT – 3NT) and this is what you see:

A Q 6  
K 7 3
6 4
A J 10 8 5
 
J 9 7 4 3
8 4
K 7 2
7 4 3

Without doubt you would rise with your king and if it turned out that South held the ace and queen of diamonds nothing would have been lost, because your king was a dead duck anyway.

If, however, it turns out that your partner’s hand is:

10 2  Q 10 6 5  A J 10 5 3   9 6

then you are just about to defeat the contract by taking the first five tricks. So no fine-tuning wanted there – just a need to follow the basic guidelines and avoid finessing against partner. But suppose this is the situation.

A Different Scenario

 South opens 2NT (20-22) and is raised to 3NT. West leads the four of spades. How should East defend?

10 7  
9 7 3
J 10 8
K Q 9 6 4
 
A J 5
Q J 5 2
A 9 6 2
7 3

Most good rules have to be bent a little sometimes and this is surely a case where a spot of fine-tuning is required.

East is in possession of some very special knowledge which tells him that the usual guideline – ‘Don’t finesse against partner’ – needs some adjustment. Opener has shown at least 20 points, dummy has 6 and East 12. That leaves at most 2 points for West, so there is no room for him to hold the king of spades, though he may well have the queen.

Indeed, as West has chosen to lead a low card, he should hold an honour in the suit, and that honour can only be the queen. East’s task, therefore, is to try and persuade declarer to win the first trick with the king and he does this by contributing the jack.

The full deal:

  10 7  
9 7 3
J 10 8
K Q 9 6 4
 
Q 9 6 4 2
10 8 6
4 3
8 5 2
A J 5
Q J 5 2
A 9 6 2
7 3
  K 8 3
A K 4
K Q 7 5
A J 10
 
Freddie North
Freddie North

As long as East has done his thinking in advance he will be able to follow suit at normal tempo leaving declarer with little chance of reading the situation correctly. From declarer’s point of view, the lead could be from a four-card suit headed by the ace, so if he doesn’t take his king at once he may never make it at all. If this is the case, going light in a lay-down contract would, perhaps, take some explaining. Suppose East goes up with the spade ace initially; declarer will now hold up his king until the third round and simply hope that East also holds the ace of diamonds.

Summary
While it is usually wrong to finesse against partner, this does not apply when it is essential to tempt declarer to win the trick.

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