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We all love a finesse but it should often be a last resort

With the Sectional now behind us, the tournament season can get into full swing and, today, the two-session Open Pairs kicks it all off.

Following that will be the Junior Teams on the next two Tuesdays and then the Open Teams on November 24.

Then, looking farther ahead for your diary, December 1 is the Christmas party.

Before I get to the hand, a quick update on the Player of the Year Races — leading in the Open division as of August 31 is Marge Way who has a narrow lead over Jane Smith.

Molly Taussig has a fairly healthy lead over Diana Diel in the Day Player POTY.

In the Junior category, the partnership of Samantha Pickering and Nick Kempe have their noses in front in a competitive race. There are still three months of scores left in these races so a lot can change in that time.

Now to the hand — most beginner and intermediate players love taking finesses.

Show them a finesse and they can’t wait to get to it and, of course, that is a losing approach.

Finesses should often be a last resort when all other lines of play have failed.

Today’s hand was a finesser’s dream — two AQJ suits just waiting to be played.

Dealer South, Both Vulnerable

The bidding:

South West North East

1? Pass 1? Pass

3? Pass 4NT Pass

5? Pass 6?

South’s three-Club bid was aggressive but I have sympathy for it as a rebid of two Clubs looks like a vast underbid — anyway, North now took the bull by the horns figuring that South must have the Diamonds guarded against two quick losers, and after Blackwood, bid the small slam in Clubs in case South had Kxx of Diamonds.

West led a small Spade and after some thought (but not enough) declarer played the Jack, fearing the worst.

Well, the worst happened — East won the Spade King and cashed the Diamond Ace — down one.

South should have thought a bit longer — even if the Spade finesse works, declarer still needs the Heart finesse for the slam to make — and if the Heart finesse is working then ... the Spade finesse is not necessary!

Declarer should resist the finesse — win the Spade Ace, draw trumps and then run the Heart 10. When this holds, repeat the Heart finesse and then get rid of the losing Spade and a Diamond on the long Hearts — now just give the defence the last trick with the Diamond ace.

Not that difficult and all it needed was some clear thinking at trick one, which is sometimes too difficult for some — especially those that love a finesse!


Monday afternoon


1, Charles Hall/Margaret Way

2, Edward Betteto/Alan Douglas

3, Ian Hilton/Elaine Stevens


1, Diana Diel/Molly Taussig

2, Elizabeth McKee/Stephanie Kyme

3, Wendy Gray/Richard Gray

Monday evening

1, Rachael Gosling/Edward Betteto

2 Alan Douglas/Jane Smith

3, Peter Donnellan/Lynanne Bolton

Tuesday evening


1, Claude Guay/Sharon Shanahan

2, Katyna Rabain/Louise Payne

3, Mike Dawson/Jo-ann Dawson


1, Nick Kempe/Samantha Pickering

2, Nikki Boyce/Carol Eastham

3, Sarah Lorimer Turner/Catherine Kennedy

Wednesday morning


1, Charles Hall/Molly Taussig

2, Dean Panagopoulos/Athena Panagopoulos

3, Elizabeth McKee/Tony Saunders


1, Edward Betteto/Margaret Way

2, Judy King/Heather Woolf

3, Gertrude Barker/Jane Smith

Thursday evening


1, Marilynn Simmons/Richmond Simmons

2, Alan Douglas/Elaine Stevens

3, Carol Jones/Wendy Salvia


1, John Glynn/Rachael Gosling

2, Edward Betteto/Fabian Hupe

3, Margaret Way/Diana Diel

Friday afternoon


1, Sancia Garrison/Patricia Siddle

2, Jane Smith/Molly Taussig

3, Janice Trott/Michael Bickley


1, Edward Betteto/Alan Douglas

2, Magda Farag/Sheena Rayner

3, Charles Hall/Dianna Kempe