Sometimes, it’s best to try Plan B before Plan A

  • Dealer South, Both Vul

    Dealer South, Both Vul

  • The full hand :

    The full hand :


Things are slowly getting back to normal at the Bridge Club after the buzz of the Regional. The two-session Men’s and Ladies’ Pairs is set for next Saturday.

Further out on the calendar is the addition of the ACBL-wide Seniors Game, limited to players 60 or over on January 1, 2020. The event will be on Monday, March 2 at 12.30pm at the Bridge Club, so put it in the diary.

I love today’s hand which was in Peter Donovan’s excellent column in the Daily Mail.

It is all about declarer play, during which you must always give yourself as many chances as possible. Quite often there is a Plan B you can try before your Plan A, and that is the case on this hand.

Dealer South, Both Vulnerable

North/South were loaded with points and after South opened 1 Diamond, North got carried away. While most other pairs got to the popular contract of 6NT this North put his partner into 7 Diamonds, so the stakes were high.

West led the Club Queen — over to you!

There are only ten top tricks and there are really three main chances and one smaller chance to develop more tricks:

1, The Heart finesse

2, The Spade finesse

3, The ruffing finesse in Hearts

4, There is also the slim possibility that the Queen of Spades is doubleton and dropping.

So plan your line of play using the above before reading on.

Let’s look at the options.

1, The Heart finesse (50 per cent) — not worth considering as even if it works, you only get one Spade discard and you need two (unless West has exactly Kx or singleton King of Hearts — both very unlikely)

2, The Spade finesse — a straight 50 per cent chance

3, The ruffing finesse in Hearts, where you play the Ace and then the Queen playing East for the Heart King. If he plays low, you discard and repeat the process. If he plays the King, you ruff it and you now have two discards available — a straight 50 per cent chance no matter how many Hearts East has.

4, Dropping the Spade Queen — on its own a very small chance that one opponent has singleton Q or Qx — probably about 10 to 15 per cent.

So given all of that, it looks like a straight choice between 2) and 3)?

Nearly! What if you can combine 3 and 4?

So you draw Trumps and then play the Ace and King of Spades. If the Queen drops, all is well and you can claim. If, however, it doesn’t drop, you now can try the ruffing finesse, so your combined chance is 60 to 65 per cent instead of the straight 50 per cent of the Spade finesse.

The full hand:

So your Plan B, which you tried before the more likely Plan A, helps you make this hand. Really nice!

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Published Feb 15, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 15, 2020 at 8:04 am)

Sometimes, it’s best to try Plan B before Plan A

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