MONTHLY HAND FEB 2000 
INTRODUCTION
THIS MONTH'S TOPICS:
          Trumping losers in Dummy
          The Finesse
          Opening Leads

We evaluate a hand played in a  suit contract in terms of losers. How many; and how do we get rid of them.
     The way we got rid of the loser in the November 1999 hand was  to TRUMP it in Dummy. And in the January 2000 hand we saw that another way to get rid of a loser was to DUMP it on a winner. DUMP & TRUMP are two ways of eliminating losers. The FINESSE is still a third way. So now think in terms of getting  rid of losers by DUMP,  TRUMP or FINESSE


 
BIDDING
South opens the bidding 1 $. Note that to open the bidding in 1 of a Major suit, South needs a minimum of 5 cards in that Major. Honors are nice to have but not necessary. Most of the time length is a more important factor than strength.
      North with more than a Total Point Count (TPC) of 10 can bid a new suit at the 2 level. North responds 2 #. South with a Minimum opener (12 - 14 TPC), signals this fact by bidding No Trump at the lowest possible level. Thus South bids 2 NT.  North knows that South has at least a 5 card Spade suit and therefore Spades will be trump (See Golden Fit). North also knows that the combined point count (points  between the two hand) is definitely in the Game Zone of 26 points. (North has 13 points and knows that South must have 13 points to make an opening bid.) Since this is the case (13 + 13 = 26), North bids game which is 4 $. East/West passed throughout. . 

 
OPENING LEAD
Under Leading an honor is leading a low card from a suit headed by an honor. Example: leading  the 4 ! from K 9 6 4 3 of Hearts. This can be dangerous in a suit contract. If the opponents have the Ace/Queen of Hearts, then an opening Heart lead would allow the Q ! to become a winner. Thus, leading a Heart involves risk. (And in this hand would lead to the undesired result.)
     Therefore, let Declarer or your partner lead the Heart. Then the King will be a winner. 
      A good opening leader is like a good Doctor: first do no harm. So the lead from the top of the three card sequence in Clubs seems the safest. Lead the J #. 

 
PLAY
Dummy comes down. Count losers before playing a Club. A good plan is based on counting, and in a suit contract Declarer counts losers.  So let's do it: 
      1 Spade;  2 Hearts; 1 Diamond; and 1 Club. That is 5 losers; two too many to make the hand. What  to do? Concede down two? Leave the game? No. Let's examine the losers. 
     PLAN: A trump loser is pretty certain and so is a Club loser. (No way to DUMP a Club on a winning Diamond or Heart; or TRUMP the Club loser in the Dummy.)
      The red suits with their Ace/Queen combos lend themselves to the third way of getting rid of losers: FINESSE. Note: after the Heart finesse - win or lose - the A ! will clear the suit from Dummy. Then the 7 ! can be TRUMPED with Dummy's 2 $. WARNING! A trump must be saved in Dummy in order to ruff the losing Heart. 
       PLAY: Play the Q # from Dummy just in case West has the King. However,  East plays the K # and Declarer the A #. Then play a small Spade to the Ace. 
      Now we can take the Heart finesse.  Play the 2 ! from Dummy and then the Q ! from the hand. The finesse is "off side", the Queen losing to the King. West takes a Club winner and plays another Club which Declarer ruffs. 
      Now win a trick with the A !  and then play the 7 ! and TRUMP it in Dummy with the 2 $. 
      After ruffing the Heart loser it is now safe to pull opponents' trump by playing the K $. This will leave one high trump in the hands of the Defense. Not to worry. The Defense can take the high trump whenever they want. (Remember, we counted one Spade loser when  making our Plan.)
      Get back to your hand by trumping a Club. Then take the Diamond finesse by playing the Q u. If West plays small, play a small Diamond from Dummy, and if East plays small, the finesse wins. Repeat the finesse with the J u and 10 u playing the A u from Dummy only if West plays the King. Since West has the King the finesse works. 
      The high trump will be the last trick the Defense will take.  South has lost 1 Spade, 1 Heart and 1 Club making 4 $.

    QUESTION: Why not play the K $ before taking the Heart finesse? 
     Answer

DEFENSE 
It would seem that the Defenders did the best they could. They basically followed suit and made the logical choices. Nothing they could do. 
      In this case, the best Defense can hope for is to take advantage of a mistake in play by Declarer. (see Question above.) 

 
 

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