Malpractice Finesse – The Gee Chronicles
Jul 192002

N/S Vul
Dealer: East
Lead: CK

S J 10 3 2
H K 7
D K 10 3
C K Q J 8
S A K 8 6 5 4
H 10
D 9 5
C A 9 7 6
[W - E] cyl
S 7
H A Q 6
D A Q J 8 7 2
C 10 5 3
S Q 9
H J 9 8 5 4 3 2
D 6 4
C 4 2

1 S
4 S



1 D
2 D

Each declarer play is like a battle. Prepare for battle. Count your winning tricks, your loosing [sic] tricks. Make a plan of attack to better your chances of winning the remaining ones.
–G. Cohen, Bridge Is A Conversation

Sticks and Wheels, for now, is at an end. Today we have a sort of intermezzo while I contemplate our next theme.

Some Wests might trouble to show the clubs on the second round to reach an excellent 3NT by East, but Gee, shrewdly aware of how much better off the partnership will be if he plays the hand, leaps to 4S instead.

North leads the CK, best for the defense, and Gee wins the first round. To the unpracticed eye this may look like a zero percentage play, but it wins if clubs are 5-1 and South has the short trump, which happens at least once for every five or six times this play loses.

Declarer is due to lose at least one trump, probably two, and this leaves the question of what to do with the club losers. Diamonds come to mind, and Gee promptly finesses the DJ, which holds, improving declarer’s prospects considerably. He now plays off his two top trumps, both defenders following. So far so good: as long as one defender can’t ruff in before the fourth round of diamonds declarer has time to discard two clubs and make, conceding two trump tricks and a club. Sure enough, that’s the layout. (If trump were 3-3, of course, then a first round club duck might have come in handy.)

So Gee repeats the diamond finesse and makes, right? Um, actually, Gee leads a heart and finesses the queen! It holds, and he can still survive by returning to his hand with a heart ruff and repeating the diamond finesse. Instead he cashes the HA, discarding a club, and cashes the DA. Unlucky again; the DK doesn’t drop. When he leads the DJ and South discards a small heart, he still has at least a theoretical chance if he ruffs in hand and plays a trump: South may have erred by not ruffing and trump may be 3-3. But real experts hate to take advantage of defensive errors and Gee instead elegantly discards the C7, guaranteeing defeat.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>