Aylesbury Aces Bridge Club
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Play this hand 5
This is a hand that John played on Tuesday. It is a routine hand where you can make 11 or 12 tricks. The defence start with A K. You trump the K. Now stop and count your tricks. You have 6 spades, 3 diamonds and 2 clubs off the top. How can you make the 12th trick?
Thinking ahead, one way to make the extra trick is to take the club finesse but if West has the ♣Q that will fail. We are taught to look for alternative lines of play and a 100% option is better than a 50% finesse. Plan to draw trumps and play the A K Q. We have 8 diamonds between the two hands so if the defenders diamonds break 3-2 (which will be the case about 68% of the time) we can take all 5 diamond tricks. But what if they break 4-1 (which will happen about 25% of the time)? Always think what might go wrong.

When East shows out of diamonds on the second round your new plan springs into action. Play Q and then trump the fourth diamond. That draws West's last diamond. Now you can enter dummy with the ♣A and take the last, set-up, diamond throwing a losing club. Now take the ♣K for the 12th trick.

There - no need to take the club finesse at all. If you take the ♣ A and K too early you wont have the communication between the two hands to do all this.

East could have made life more difficult by switching to a club at trick two. You can try ♣J but the queen covers it so you must take the king. Providing you save the ♣A in the dummy your plan will still work.

If the diamonds had broken 5-0 which, after East jumps to 4, is not impossible then it does come down to the club finesse for the 12th trick. And as it fails you would only make 11 tricks.