A Brilliant Finesse
By Ray Adams
The entire local club was talking about Poor Frank’s brilliant finesse the other day. It all came about on the following hand:
West led the DK against Poor Frank’s 3♠ contract. The continuation of the ♦J was overtaken by East’s queen and Poor Frank ruffed the ♦A with the seven, West overruffing with the eight. West now shifted to a heart, declarer capturing East’s king with the ace. Poor Frank then drew trumps in two rounds and cashed the ♣A, sluffing a heart. The ♥J was won by West’s queen, as Poor Frank carefully noted the fall of East’s nine. The club exit was ruffed and Poor Frank now advanced the ♥6. West played the five, and Poor Frank sluffed a club as East showed out. He then ruffed his last heart and claimed nine tricks. East and West later told everyone who would listen how Poor Frank had finessed an eight to make his contract! None of the senior kibitzers had ever heard of anyone finessing an eight before, and Poor Frank was the hero of the night. At least, that is, until Lucky Archie played the same board.
The only difference in the auction was when Lucky Archie bid 4♠ at his last turn. West at his table was reluctant to lead a diamond from the KJ holding and tried a heart. This went to the king and ace. Archie now drew trumps in three rounds, sluffed a diamond on the ♣A and conceded two heart tricks and one diamond to make his game contract. When he heard about Poor Frank’s great play, his reply was, “What? And he only made three? A real player would have made four like I did.” And many in the club agreed with him, for after all, he had done one better than Frank.