Poll #19, Finesse: Missing Ace-Queen, 12/27/2010

Duplicate and Contract Bridge: Finesse missing Ace-Queen

Everyone loves a good finesse, especially when we have lots of honors in the suit.  But all too often Bridge is like life and we don’t have as many resources as we wished.

On today’s poll, we have good news and some bad news.  The good news is we have 3 honors on a side suit.   The bad news is we are missing the Ace and Queen.   Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to win 2 tricks in your side suit.

Okay, your are the declarer, your partner and the opponents are eagerly watching how you will play this side suit.  Go get ’em Ace!  Or should we say, go get ’em King-Jack-10!   After taking the poll, try your skill and luck (always nice to have both) at the hand below.   Please login for additional written commentary and downloadable files.


Do you need instant gratification without study and training? Okay, go click here to go right to our animated video animation with bidding and play commentary.  However we should warn you – the lesson starts off like ‘What’s wrong with Waldo?’  Can you catch all the play errors the first time around?

Or click here to download and play audio only

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♠ K 4 3 2
A K Q 2
A 7 3 2
♣ 3

♠ —

♣ J





♠ —

♣ —

♠ J 10 7
4 3
K Q J 10
♣ A K Q 7

6 NT by South

In today’s polling question, we are faced with how to play a suit missing the Ace-Queen.  Enter the world of finesses or more properly stated, suit combinations.   While our BridgeHands has hundreds and hundreds of suit combinations, that’s way too many for most of us to memorize.   So on combinations like the one above, we need a general guideline we can use to follow is most situations.

And when missing the Ace-Queen and holding the Jack-10-x, the general guide when needing 2 tricks in the suit is to play low to the Jack-10-x suit.   In fact, you’ll find that in many instances your odds of making an extra trick are increased by first taking the *LOWER* tenace finesse, then later taking the higher finesse.  Wow, that guideline sure beats memorizing over 700 suit combinations!

On the above hand, South opens 1 Notrump with a balanced 16 HCP.  North bids 2C Stayman, hoping South will bid a 4 card major (up the line, Hearts first with both majors).  And with a nice 16 HCP held by North, slam looks very possible (33 points is a good benchmark for slam, with sufficient Aces).  When South bids 2D denying major suit support, North bids 4 Notrump – a Blackwood Ace-ask with strong interest in slam.  South rebids 5D, showing 1 Ace.  With a strong hand and lots of honors, North signs off in 6 Notrump.  West is on lead and begins with the Club Jack.  Plan your play. [Read more…]