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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

East-West vulnerable. South deals.
x A Q 3
u K 7 5 2
v A 9 8 7 4
w 3
x J 9 7 4 2 x K 10
u Q 9 8 u J 10 6 3
v J v 5 3
w K 10 7 6 w Q 9 5 4 2
x 8 6 5
u A 4
v K Q 10 6 2
w A J 8
The bidding:
1v Pass 1u Pass
1NT Pass 3v Pass
3u Pass 3x Pass
4w Pass 6v Pass
Pass Pass
Opening lead: Four of x
"A strange hand," remarked the kibitzer. "If the finesse was going to work, there was no need to take it!" This is the hand that generated this strange observation.
Despite five-card diamond support, North's one-heart response is correct since finding an eight-card major-suit fit is a primary objective. After North jumped in diamonds, a series of cue-bids landed North-South in six diamonds.
West led a low spade, and declarer had an immediate problem. He gave himself a well thought out second chance via a technique known in the trade as a strip and endplay. Since one spade loser was almost inevitable, the finesse could wait. South rose with dummy's ace, spurning the finesse! Two rounds of trumps were drawn, followed by the ace of clubs and a club ruff. The ace and king of hearts were cashed, a heart was ruffed in the closed hand and South's last club was ruffed on the table. A second heart ruff completed the strip.
The time had come for declarer to lead a spade. When West followed low, declarer inserted the queen. If the finesse would have succeeded at trick one, the queen would have won. But when the lady lost to the king in the East hand, the extra chance came into play via the endplay. East was out of spades and, with only clubs left in hand for him to lead, declarer would be able to discard a spade from one hand while ruffing in the other. Six diamonds bid and made!
XThis column is written by Tannah Hirsch and Omar Sharif. For information about Charles Goren's newsletter for bridge players, call (800) 788-1225 or write Goren Bridge Letter, P.O. Box 4410, Chicago, Ill. 60680
& copy;2004, Tribune Media Services