Poll #14, Plan Your Play – Finesse or Promote, 12/15/2010

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Graphical diagram of North – South hands:

♠ 10 6
A 9 7 6
K 2
♣ J 10 5 4 3

♠ 3
♥ —
♦ —
♣ —





♠ —
♥ —
♦ —
♣ —

♠ A Q J 9 8 7
Q 8 3
J 3
♣ A Q

With 16 HCP plus 2 Spade distribution points minus 1 for the Diamond Jx, South opens 1S. With 8 HCP and 2=4=2=5 shape, South responds an uncomfortable 1 Notrump with questionable shape. Back to South, optimistic South players will bid 4S. But even an invitational jump to 3S by South should result in North accepting game with a known 8+ card fit and 2 primary honors (HA and DK).

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Happy Bridge trails,


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  1. lakspieler7 says:

    In your initial commentary you have “south” where you should have “north”. Why play the 4th spade and throw a club from dummy? If you save the 3 of clubs, throwing a heart if you must play a 4th spade, then the hand makes 5 in this case, which is important at duplicate.

    • BridgeHands says:
      Hello Lakspieler,

      Yes, you and a few other EMAIL/commenters pointed out a few inconsistencies in our trial commentary. Actually, doing an animated commentary wasn’t planned but since our internet connection was down, it gave us something to do while the hours passed and we again had access to edit and upload our files. And you might guess, there are still a few kinks to work out – our processes will improve as we get the hang of all our new bells and whistles.

      And yes, we did re-record the video and audio commentary. While the earlier version was meant more to illustrate the benefit of a certain line of play, the new recording has several improvements. So while the commentary is a bit longer and discusses a more sophisticated line of play, hopefully our more advanced players will find the commentary addresses attention to details glossed over on our maiden voyage.

      Warm Regards, Michael

  2. BridgeHands says:
    So after the first day of responses to Poll #14, we definitely have a quorum. A whopping 75 percent of our respondents selected the following line of play:

    ………S10 finesse. Pull trump. CA and then the CQ to opponents CK. H3 to HA

    In other words, they choose to give up a Club finesse in an attempt to promote the dummy’s long Club suit. On our illustrative four hand deal, it turns out the red suit finesses do not work out well for us. And while each hand has different considerations and merits for specific lines of play, promotion plays are often at the top of our list.

    Second, most of our respondents noted that it’s important to immediately play the Spade 10 from the dummy. Assuming East holds the Spade King, they astutely noted going up with the lovely Spade honor (even a 10 can be a big help as it is here) provides a critical entry into the dummy. Otherwise, we’d need to reenter the dummy for a repeated finesse. And with the Heart Ace turning out to be our only sure entry, how would we ever promote the Clubs?

    While in a distant second, our next most popular response goes to:

    ……… S10 finesse. Pull trump. H3 to HA. Finesse CQ, then DK.

    Yes, if the red suit finesses cooperate, this play strategy would work out nicely. Just be aware that when multiple finesses, the odds progressively go down:

    1 finesse – 50 percent
    2 finesses – 25 percent
    3 finesses – 12.5 percent

    And while desperate times call for desperate measures, winning Bridge play is based on playing the best odds. Hmm, so winning Bridge folks love to play the odds? It sounds like we are we all gamblers at heart, right?

    At least this time the “smart money” isn’t betting on the Heart and Diamond finesses working in their favor – instead willing to sacrifice their Club Queen to promote the dummy’s long Club suit. Should an opponent cover or hold back? Please watch our animated video to discover what happens and learn more secrets about our fascinating game…

    Have a great day at the table, Michael

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