Join Bridge Winners
I hate Deep Finesse

West
9762
J10983
642
3
North
J53
K74
K10985
104
East
A104
52
AQ7
QJ987
South
KQ8
AQ6
J3
AK652
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

 

Opening lead: J

This hand appeared on 31 December 2018 in an article by an author who shall remain unnamed for now to avoid embarrassing him. So I ask those who recognize it not to reveal the author’s identity. Should it prove to be the case that I am the one to be embarrassed, quite a likely outcome here on BridgeWinners, then I will mention the author’s name with my apologies to him(her) and to Deep Finesse. I am working under the assumption that bridge authors use Deep Finesse to double-check their work. So, in this instance, I feel the author went out of his way to give a reasoning that justifies the action recommended or suggested by Ms Finesse.

You are East, defending 3NT on the lead of the J.  Declarer wins with the queen, advances the J and lets it ride. Plan your defense before you read on.

My mind was made up and I was ready to pounce. I was surprised, to put it mildly, to read that best defense is for East to let the J hold. The reasoning is based on a few points as follows:

a. South is credited with K-Q, A-Q and A-K for his 2NT jump rebid.

b. Unless declarer had four spades, he could score only two spade tricks.

c. With two spades, three hearts and two clubs, declarer needs to make two diamond tricks. To limit South to one diamond trick, East must duck. This “effectively kills dummy’s remaining diamonds”.

Well... that is all true. It is absolutely correct in double-dummy kingdom. If anyone has access to Deep finesse, I ask you please to verify my hunch that that’s what Ms Finesse said is the right play by East at trick two.

Personally, while point a is pretty obvious, I disagree with the rest of the reasoning. East can’t tell whether declarer started with two or three diamonds, even when West plays a “count” card. It’s hard for East to determine whether that card is a singleton or the start of an echo. And you can’t “kill” those diamonds if declarer has three, the K is there as the entry to the established diamonds. More importantly, that declarer could have started with four spades is a live possibility. East should fear a scenario where declarer, having stolen a diamond trick, switches to spades and comes to nine tricks via 3 spades, 3 hearts, a diamond and 2 clubs. Only a double-dummy defense lets the J hold.

My defense, which I’m sure most of you have found, is to win the first diamond and fire back the club queen. One has to be blind not to appreciate the beauty of the club spots in East and the solidity of the suit given the doubleton 10 in dummy. Planning to win the second diamond lead and playing the J, East can ascribe to South 3 heart tricks, 3 diamonds, 2 clubs and no more. Regardless of how many spades South has and regardless of how many diamonds he has.

There is a world of difference between the single dummy solution and the double dummy one. It is not my intention to criticize an author who fell victim to the whims of Deep Finesse. Rather, my aim is to criticize the double dummy solution. I hate it when someone or some program suggests a play that doesn’t make sense bridgewise. We shouldn’t accept everything Deep Finesse says. I wished Ms Finesse would get out of our way and let us think bridge on our own.

74 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top