Rome News-Tribune – 26 Feb 2002

Many players commit “suicide” at the bridge table, killing contracts that should have been kept alive. Here, you reach five diamonds.

Dealer: South Vulnerable: East-West

West leads the club suit2

Defending strongly, East wins with the queen, cashes the club ace, then shifts to a low heart. How would you continue? The auction was effective. North’s raise to three diamonds invited game, showing support with about 11 high-card points. South tried three hearts to indicate a stopper there; he was hoping North could convert to three no-trump with something in clubs. However, with nothing in that suit, North went for the minor-suit game.

This is the key question:

Suppose the heart finesse wins—what then?

The answer, of course, is that you draw trumps and take a spade finesse. If it wins, you are home; but if it loses, you are down. Yet if the spade finesse is winning, you do not need the heart finesse, which is a potentially suicidal risk. Win trick three with the heart ace, draw trumps ending in hand, and play a spade to dummy’s jack. When it wins, return to hand with a trump, repeat the spade finesse, discard the heart queen on the spade ace, and claim.