When you first learn the art of finessing, you tend to take every finesse in sight. After you master it, you look for ways to avoid unnecessary finesses.
North’s three-diamond bid was a transfer to hearts, and four diamonds was a cue-bid. South decided that if North could show interest in slam, his hand was worth six hearts because of its fine fit and controls, despite the fact that it was a minimum two notrump opener.
West led a low club, and when dummy came down, it seemed that declarer would need a winning diamond finesse to make his slam. Declarer soon showed that with correct technique, the diamond position was immaterial to the success of his contract.
Declarer won the club lead in his hand and drew two rounds of trump and ended in the dummy. He successfully finessed the queen of spades. The king of spades was marked in the East hand, so declarer could now claim his slam.
Declarer cashed the king of clubs and ruffed a club in the dummy. He returned to his hand with the ace of spades and ruffed his last club. He led the Jack of spades from dummy, and when East covered with his king, declarer discarded a diamond instead of ruffing.
East had a choice of losing options. A diamond return would be into dummy’s ace-queen, and a spade return would allow declarer to sluff his remaining diamond while ruffing in the dummy. No matter what East did, the slam was assured.
Donna Swan is a resident of Longboat Key, an ardent bridge player and an American Contract Bridge League certified director who plays “for the fun of it.”
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