Some suit combinations, AJx opposite K10x, for example, tend to
allow for a guess as to which way to finesse for a missing honor.
These are called ``Two-way finesses.'' Every once in awhile, we
have to play these suits to take the finesse once each way. For
the first time, I found a suit in which I had to take a finesse
one way, then the other, and then back again the first way!
Playing in a sectional pairs event with an intermediate partner, I
was fourth to speak and picked up
A10 K1053 AQJ1064 3
Dealer, on my left, passed, and partner opened 3NT. We were playing
that 3NT opening bids show a solid seven-card minor with no side
Aces or Kings. RHO passed and I did, too, somewhat reluctantly.
6 could be cold, or it could be down one off the top. Notrump
rates to be our best game, but playing it from partner's hand is not
good for us. LHO reopened with a confident 4, posing me with
a severe bidding problem.
I think it is best is to double, but LHO looked pretty confident about
his bid. It seems as if he's been sandbagging. If I don't double,
what shall I do? 4NT seems wrong; if it makes, so will 6
from my side, assuming they don't get a ruff. 5 is out of the
question; we'll get a bad matchpoint score regardless of whether
or not it makes. Finally, I decide that one does not win matchpoint
events by sitting by idly, so I leap to 6, knowing that my
bidding was inconsistent, but amusing, nonetheless.
I get the lead of a small spade to the King and Ace and draw trump,
West's having a singleton. From hand, I pitch two hearts and a diamond
and West pitches three hearts, echoing.
Crossing my fingers, I take the diamond finesse. It holds and West
shows out on the first round! What is going on here? West has twelve
major suit cards and passed in first chair? He must have 5701 or he
might've tried bidding spades at some point. That means that East is
void in hearts and I can lose a trick to him safely. Since I need
the diamond suit, but have no more entries to my hand, I must take
the ``ruffing finesse'' in diamonds, floating a diamond honor (not the
Ace) around to East. He considers this for a moment and plays low.
Joyful! This finesse worked in both directions. I cannot afford to
take it again in this direction, so I ruff a spade and take it again
back in the original direction. The A gives me a pitch for
my losing hearts, so I make all the tricks.
Copyright © 1995 Jeff Goldsmith