Planning the Play in Notrump by David Bird, Marc Smith

By David Bird, Marc Smith

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You should therefore seek a ninth trick by finessing the ♠J, rather than by knocking out the diamond ace. ) If West plays a card higher than the five on the second round of hearts, and East returns the ♥ 2, it is likely that hearts are 4-4. You should then knock out the ace of diamonds instead of taking the spade finesse. B. You should win the first round of hearts, leaving yourself with a double stopper should West be first to gain the lead. If you play on clubs next, East may win and play a heart through your remaining ♥ K9, clearing the suit.

With no way to reach the dummy, you will be two down. Suppose instead that you win the first trick with an unnecessarily high card, the ace. This will promote dummy’s spade queen into an entry. East does best to switch to hearts when he wins the third round of diamonds. You counter this by holding up the ace until the third round; then you can lead a spade towards dummy. West has no heart to play when he takes the spade king and you can reach happily for your scoring pen. The next deal is on a similar theme.

When two queen finesses are possible, but you cannot afford to lose a trick, play for the drop in one suit, then finesse in the other. You should play for the drop in the suit where you have the longer holding. This is an example of combining the second-best chance in one suit with the best chance in another. 4. The best play in one suit may lose the lead to a defender who can then put you to a premature guess in another suit. In this situation it may be better to make a less promising play in the first suit, keeping the danger hand off lead and thereby allowing you to combine your chances.

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