Page 0050

THE saying 'Eight Ever, Nine never' is one particular

example of a far more widespread idea. Looked at in

isolation and without the context of a whole hand:

i) If you are missing K-2, play for the drop.

ii) If you are missing K-3-2, play to finesse the Q.

iii) If you are missing Q-4-3-2, play for the drop.

iv) If you are missing Q-5-4-3-2, play to finesse

the J (having first cashed the A or the K in case

the Q is singleton).

v) If you are missing J-6-5-4-3-2, play for the drop.

vi) If you are missing J-7-6-5-4-3-2 play to finesse

the 10 (having, if possible first cashed two top

honours in case the J is singleton or

doubleton).

Note that if you are missing an even number of

cards, i), iii) and v), it is usually right to play for the

drop, though in all these cases consideration of

vacant spaces makes the decision close. If you are

missing an odd number of cards, ii), iv) and vi) it is

usually right to cash as many top cards as possible

and then take a finesse. This time the odds are more

clearcut.

Layout A Layout B

´ A K Q 10 ™ A K Q 10

´ 3 2 ™ 4 3 2

If you need four tricks with Layout A, cash the ´A

(in case East has the ´J singleton), return to your

hand in another suit and then finesse the ´10.

If you need four tricks with Layout B, play the ™A

K Q. Note that in addition to a 3-3 break, you also

succeed if the ™J is doubleton.

Layout C Layout D

t A K 10 3 2 ® A K 4 3 2

t Q 4 ® Q 10

Note that the reason for playing for the drop in C is

that you not only succeed on 3-3 breaks (36%) but

also with 4-2 breaks if the tJ is doubleton. This is

one third of 4-2 breaks. A 4-2 break is 48%, so tJ-x

occurs 16% of the time. The combined total of 52%

is marginally better than a finesse, which reinforces

that while playing for the drop is best, it is marginal.

Layout D is different. This time if you play your

three top clubs you have wasted your ®10. Double ton

®J-x is no longer helpful because the de fend er

with ®9-x-x-x has a winner. Playing for the drop in

this combination only succeeds if the suit breaks 33,

just 36% of the time. This is far worse than a

finesse so you should start by finessing the ®10.

How would you play E below to make four tricks?

Layout E Layout F

´ Q 10 3 2 ™ K J 3 2

´ K 7 6 5 4 ™ A 7 6 5 4

To answer, look at Layout F, which is the same as E

except that each of the honours in E has been up graded

by one rank. In F you would cash the ™A and

then the ™K, playing to drop the ™Q. Your way of

playing E is based on the same principle of 'nine

never'. At first sight that means you start with the ´K

and on the next round you play the ´Q playing for

the drop. But you can improve on that. Rather than

just lead out the ´K, lead up to the ´K. This gains

spectacularly if East has the singleton ´A because it

hits thin air rather than capturing your ´K.

In a similar manner, G is analogous to H:

Layout G Layout H

t Q 10 3 2 ® K J 3 2

t K 6 5 4 ® A 6 5 4

In Layout H you would cash the ®A and then

finesse the ®J. In G you should lead up to the tK

50 English Bridge June 2015 www.ebu.co.uk

Drop or Finesse? (Part III)by Andrew Kambites

Suit Combinations

Suit Combinations

click

link

N

W E

S

N

W E

S

N

W E

S

N

W E

S

N

W E

S

N

W E

S

N

W E

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N

W E

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Index

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