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Ruffing finesses may gain tricks

Ruffing finesses may gain tricks

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Brian Eno claimed in "Wired" magazine: "I'm struck by the insidious, computer-driven tendency to take things out of the domain of muscular activity and put them into the domain of mental activity. The transfer is not paying off. Sure, muscles are unreliable, but they represent several million years of accumulated finesse."

Bridge players need mental activity, and often their minds will be considering a finesse. Hardly a deal is played without a finesse. The couple in this deal, which occurred during a duplicate at Bridge Base Online, are not commonplace.

How should South play in four spades after West leads the club 10: queen, ace, ruff?

Clearly, declarer has to establish his heart suit, and usually it is right to play on that side suit immediately. So, at trick two, South led the heart queen, planning to take a ruffing finesse by discarding from the board if West did not cover with the ace or king.

Here, though, West did cover with the king. South ruffed on the board, played a spade to his ace and continued with the heart jack. This time, West played low, so a club disappeared from the dummy. On the heart 10 continuation, the same scenario repeated itself. West had to play his ace on the fourth heart. Declarer ruffed with the spade jack and continued with the diamond king. East took that trick and returned the suit to dummy's queen. There followed a club ruff, the spade king, the heart nine and another heart. The declarer lost only two spades and one diamond. Surprisingly, this result was a cold top.


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