Contract bridge: Avoid finesse into hand with power to defeat you
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West led Q♥, overtaken by East’s A♥; 6♥ returned. The easy method to nine tricks would be the club finesse but, if it loses — as it does here — declarer goes down immediately, losing K♣ and four heart tricks. Is there a more labour-intensive line that might provide additional chances?
Declarer ducks the heart return and wins the third round, knowing that East is now void in hearts, but that West holds two heart winners. South can now safely try an extra alternative line. At trick 4, she lays down A♦ and leads 7♦. When West plays low, she finesses with J♦. If East wins, no damage is done, since East cannot lead hearts. When J♦ wins, K♦ is cashed and, the suit having divided 3-3, 4♦ is also a winner. Declarer throws a club from hand.
5♠ is now played to A♠ in hand, and 7♠ is led. When West plays low, South finesses with J♠. This wins, and K♠ can be cashed as the ninth trick.
If either of the finesses had failed, then declarer would have the time, and no option but, to risk the club finesse. Crucially, that lazy play should be a only a last resort.