By Tony Campbell

A FINESSE is one of the most common plays at bridge. With AQ on dummy, you finesse against the K, winning the Q if the K is held by the player on your left.

But, sometimes a finesse can be taken either way.

So how do you decide which way to take it? Such a hand turned up recently at Penarth Bridge Club.

North was dealer with neither side vulnerable; After a weak 1NT opener, North, with both majors, and 10 points plus two tens = 11 points, bid Stayman. South bid 2D, denying a four-card major, and North, bid 2NT, which South, with a maximum 14 pts, converted to 3NT.

West lead his fourth highest heart, the 7. The rule of eleven told South that East could only have 1 card higher than the 7, so put up the JH, which was covered bv East with the Q, and taken by the South with the Ace.

He decided to set up two club tricks first, playing the 3 to the K in dummy, taken by East’s Ace. East returned the 2H taken by West’s K, who returned the 9H, which was taken by dummy’s J. South, knowing now that West had started with five hearts, can count 9 tricks if he takes the spade finesse in the right way, and if East has the Ace of diamonds.

So, South played a spade to his K, followed by the J, which was covered by West’s Q, and taken by dummy’s Ace. South then played a diamond from dummy.

East held up his Ace, so South won the trick with the K. Declarer then played the 7S, taken by the 10 in dummy, revealing that the spades had been 3/3.

So, declarer cashed dummy’s last spade, and then a diamond, which was taken by East with the Ace, who lead back a diamond. Declarer then claimed the rest of the tricks, making a total of ten - four spades, two hearts, two diamonds and two clubs, for a top. Well played!

Weekly results at Penarth Bridge Club

Thursday Jan 2nd 2020; 1st N/S Peter Sampson & Viv Duckers (70.0%); 1st E/W Bernard Dimascio & Kath Driscoll (62.5). Friday Jan 3rd 2020; 1st Debbie & Simon Richards (67.1%); 2nd Adrian and Diana Trickey (62.1%); 3rd Tony Campbell and Simon Brindle (59.6%). Penarth Bridge Club is a warm and friendly club that meets every Tuesday and Friday at Trinity Church Hall, Woodland Place, CF64 3EN. There is plenty of parking.

We ask players to be in their seats by 6.45 pm, so that we can set the movement for a prompt start at 7 pm. You can see each hand, compared with the results, on the web site. There is also an improvers’ session every Thursday morning starting at 10 am.

We have several social events during the year, linked to bridge. Contact Professor Tony Campbell or see the web site for further information. Table up.