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FEB_08_EB p19 North 14/1/08 12:29 pm Page 19

As declarer,

FINE-TUNING

don’t lose sight

of the wider picture

IN their formative years, bridge players love

simple aide-mémoires and one of the most

This is the full deal:

Freddie North

popular is the jingle ‘eight ever, nine never.’

This refers to how you deal with capturing ♠ 8

the missing queen – usually in the trump ♥ A952 never’ suggests that declarer should finesse

suit – with eight and nine cards respectively. ♦ 763 for the queen, a play which on its own is

So the general rule is to finesse when hold- ♣ KQ643 mathematically correct. But is that right

ing eight cards and play for the drop with ♠ A J 10 7 5 2 ♠ K94 here, or is a little fine-tuning required?

nine. This may well be sound enough advice ♥ K63 N ♥ 874 The bidding and lead point to the virtual

W E

in the ordinary way, but the words ‘ever and ♦ Q 10 4 S ♦ AKJ95 certainty of the four of hearts being a

always’ and ‘never and nohow’ make un- ♣ A ♣ 10 9 singleton. If this is the case the danger in

comfortable bedfellows in the greater ♠ Q63 taking the spade finesse must surely

scheme of things as the best line of play is ♥ Q J 10 outweigh other considerations. This is the

being considered. Sometimes a little fine- ♦ 82 full deal:

tuning is required – regardless of the dos ♣ J8752

and don’ts. Consider these two hands:

♠ Q74

At teams or rubber bridge the recommend- ♥ 4

Game All. Dealer West. Teams. ed line is unquestionably correct as it gua- ♦ 10 9 8 5 4 2

♠ A J 10 7 5 2 ♠K94 rantees the contract (at least eleven tricks) ♣ 854

♥ K63

W

N

E

♥874 whatever the trump distribution. However, ♠ A K 10 9 6 ♠ J52

♦ Q 10 4 S ♦AKJ95 at pairs declarer has more of a problem. ♥ A 10 3 N ♥ J62

W E

♣ A ♣ 10 9 Some East-Wests will be in 6♠ and with an ♦ K S ♦ 763

inevitable heart loser may decide to play for ♣ J972 ♣ AKQ6

the queen of spades to drop. The game-only ♠ 83

Perhaps the uncontested auction goes: l♠ players may or may not do the same (the ♥ KQ9875

– 2♦ – 3♠ – 4♠, and North leads the king odds are very close), so if West is looking for ♦ AQJ

of clubs. What are your thoughts? a good board he might still follow the teams ♣ 10 3

Well, of course, you may have underbid. and rubber-bridge line.

If the trumps behave you are looking at Now, suppose you are East in the follow-

twelve certain tricks: six spades, five dia- ing situation: Suppose West, without the benefit of fine-

monds and one club. On the other hand, if tuning, blindly follows his favourite slogan.

there is a trump loser even 4♠ could fail. Now, after the ace of hearts and ace of

Suppose South wins a trick with the spade Game all. Dealer South. Rubber bridge. spades, he enters dummy with a club and

queen and North holds the ace of hearts . . . ♠ A K 10 9 6 ♠J52 takes the spade finesse . . . Oh dear! North

Disaster! The point is that the king of hearts ♥ A 10 3 W

N

E

♥J62 wins and puts his partner in with the ace

could become an endangered species, so it ♦K S ♦763 of diamonds to cash his king of hearts;

is imperative to keep South off lead. ♣J972 ♣AKQ6 then, the final nail in the coffin, hearts are

So, rather than follow the ‘eight ever, continued for North to ruff.

nine never’ rule, we invoke the assistance While slogans and jingles are all very well

of our fine-tuning friend. After the ace of South, playing five-card majors, opens the in their place, declarers should never lose

clubs, we play a spade to dummy’s king bidding with 1♥ but West becomes the sight of the broader picture – especially any

and then a second spade, inserting the ten declarer in 4♠. North, who has passed possible dangers from the bidding and

when South plays low. If North wins with throughout, leads the four of hearts. What opening lead. The conclusion in this case

the queen he cannot attack the heart suit are your plans? must surely be to eschew all thought of the

to advantage, and if the ten holds we draw Obviously the main problem is the trump finesse. Thus declarer loses just one

the last trump and claim twelve tricks. trump suit. The jingle ‘eight ever, nine spade, one heart and one diamond.

www.ebu.co.uk February 2008 English Bridge 19

Index

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  4. Page 0004
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  8. Page 0008
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  28. Page 0028
  29. Page 0029
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  33. Page 0033
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  35. Page 0035
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  40. Page 0040
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  48. Page 0048
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  55. Page 0055
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