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May 20, 2024 – Mercury news

Cy the Cynic says that skating on thin ice will put you in a difficult situation. This is what I would call skating — I mean betting — your contract on a finesse that risks losing.

Against today’s 3NT, West led a weak frame: eight, ten, queen. Declarer then lets the ten of spades rise. This finesse had the merit of ending the game quickly: the East won and surrendered a diamond, and the West took four diamonds for a setback.

The south fell through the ice. If spade finesse had won, he would have taken at least three spades plus at least six additional tricks in the other suits. But the South had a chance even if the East had the king of spades.


Once South wins the first trick, he should cash the king, ace and queen of clubs. When the suit breaks 3-3, he has eight tricks. He then takes the AK to heart. When the queen falls, dummy South’s jack is high for the ninth trick.

If the clubs didn’t break well, South would be in his hands with finesse in spades.

This week: Don’t be finicky!


You hold: S 9 8 6 HQ 10 DAK 7 6 2 C 10 8 3. Your partner opens a heart, you respond 1NT and he repeats two hearts. The opponents pass. What do you say?

ANSWER: This hand has too much potential to fold. The nine high card points will come in handy. If partner has a solid minimum opening bid such as A3, AKJ763, Q54, 54, he will likely complete 12 tricks with an opening lead without clubs. Give fate a chance and raise three hearts, especially if you are vulnerable.

South Dealer

BORN. vulnerable



HJ 9 7

DJ 9 8

AC 6 5 2


S 9 8 6

HQ 10

DAK 7 6 2

C 10 8 3


Sask. 4 3

H 8 6 5 2

D 10 5 3

JC 9 4


LP 10 7 5

HAK 4 3

QD 4


South West North East
1 Pass NT 3 Pass NT All
Opening lead — D 6

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