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Without Finesse

Without Finesse

By In 16th World Bridge Series On 22nd August 2022

This deal from the penultimate round of the McConnell qualifier was not without interest:

The first question to be addressed is what should South lead?
There does not appear to be much point in staring with the CuoriA, although it does allow you to take a look at dummy. Here it works if you switch to the QuadriQ or more simply a spade.
You could opt to lead a spade – here that might work, but having won in dummy if declarer plays a low club and North goes in with the king and returns a spade declarer can get home by putting in the jack. Not too difficult as hearts must be 6-1 and North is unlikely to have the CuoriAK and the FioriK.
If you reject both of those possibilities in favour of a diamond, which card will you choose?
Given that you have an entry why not start with the QuadriA? Then it is easy enough to continue with the QuadriQ.
However, on the two occasions where East was in 3NT South’s choice was the Quadri6. That allowed declarer to win in hand with the jack. How should declarer continue?
Running the FioriQ is fine if North wins, but what if the finesse holds? Repeating it allows North to win and play a diamond when there are only eight tricks. It might be best to forget all about the finesse, and play a spade to the ace at trick two followed by a low club. If either defenders wins that you should be in clover and if the Fiori10 holds you can cash the PiccheK and then play the FioriQ.
Although I don’t know how the bidding or play went, I can tell you that Danuta Kazmucha made 3NT for Edmonds and Hatice Ozgur did the same for Galatasaray SK. That represented a major setback for teams Baker and Germany.

About the Author

Mark Horton
Mark Horton

Mark Horton British journalist and expert player, was Editor of Bridge Magazine 1995-2017 and now edits the online publication Bridgerama+. At one time, his business cards were inscribed: Have Cards will Travel, but following the death of his most famous sponsor, the Rabbi Leonard Helman, he has tended to concentrate on his writing exploits (in 2018 he had five books published!). Anyone wanting to discover how to lose at bridge on a regular basis (and pay for the privilege) should feel free to contact him. He currently lives in Shrewsbury with his wife Liz.