This month we continue with suggestions on how best to handle finesse situations.
There many ways to create entries, some quite daring. The bottom line is to know how many entries you need and, equally important, how to secure them.
Once you decide which suit you plan to establish, keep as many entries to that hand as possible. As a general rule, try to retain entries to the weaker hand.
Here are more tips concerning entries.
1. Sometimes it is necessary to overtake a winner if the spot cards and the number of tricks needed warrant the play.
North K 9 8 7 2
West J 5 4 3
East 10 6
South A Q
If you need exactly four tricks from this suit and there is one side entry to dummy, play the ace and overtake the queen. If the suit breaks 3-3 or if the 10 or jack drops doubleton, you have four tricks. If you don’t overtake, only a 3-3 break will help you.
2..Before drawing trumps, decide where you want to end up. Don’t surprise yourself.
3.“Eight ever, nine never” is only a nursery rhyme when entry considerations enter the picture.
9 4 3
A 7 2
7 3 2
K 8 7 6
A K J 10 7 6
6 5 4
A K 4
Against silent opposition you get to four spades. West makes the seemingly killing lead of the heart king. This lead removed your only certain entry to the club king so you stand to lose four tricks – two hearts, one diamond and possibly one spade.
Not to worry. Win the heart ace and lead a spade to the jack! If the finesse wins you have 10 tricks. If it loses, the spade 9 becomes an entry to the club king after you unblock the ace.
4.Even the simplest of positions can lead to disaster if you do not cater to your entry problems
North J 10 4
West A K 7 6
East 9 8 2
South Q 5 3
If West leads high and you need a dummy entry, play the queen.
5. With no clear-cut need of extra entries to either hand, maintain entry flexibility.
A Q 4
K 7 6
If this suit is led, it is usually best to take the trick in dummy with the queen, maintaining later entry flexibility to either hand. It is also more deceptive than winning with either the ace or the king.
6.At times you must restrain yourself from making a seemingly routine play when an entry problem exists.
North A 7 6
West 10 3
East K J 9 8 4
South Q 5 2
You are playing a notrump contract after East has bid spades and West leads the spade 10. Ninety-nine times out of 100 you would play low to ensure two tricks. However, if you need a later entry to your hand, win the ace. If you play low and East does not take the king, you will be forced to win the queen prematurely.
7.When you can win a trick in either hand, do not make a play until you have a plan.
A J 8 4 2
A 10 3
J 7 6
K J 10 9 2
10 8 5 4
You are in one notrump and West leads the queen of hearts. Looking only at hearts, you should win the king so you can later finesse the 10. But look at the whole hand – three hearts tricks won’t be enough to make this contract. It is important to save the king as an entry for the diamonds. Win with the ace of hearts and lead the queen of diamonds to make sure of seven tricks.
8.A nifty unblock may be necessary to conserve an entry.
NorthQ 10 9
West 5 4
East K 8 7 6 3
South A J 2
With the lead in dummy and a shortage of dummy entries, lead the queen. If it is not covered, underplay the jack. Assuming the queen holds, run the 10. Whether East covers or not, you can still arrange to lead another suit from dummy.