IN this article I will continue my investigation of the
'Eight Ever, Nine Never' guideline, looking at the
meaning of 'Eight Ever', and examining the virtues
and fallacies of this guidance.
In the combination below you have eight spades,
missing the queen.
´ A J 3 2
´ K 6 5 4
Suppose this is your trump suit and to make your
contract you have to draw trumps for no loser. You
cash the ´ K, both defenders following. You now
lead the ´ 4 and West follows with a low spade. You
have to decide who has the ´ Q. You are missing the
´ Q and one other spade.
My first point is that you are still missing two
spades, making the concept of vacant spaces
(see last issue's article) far harder to apply.
Instead, I recommend that you look back to
the position as it was when you started playing the
suit. You needed a 3-2 break. You now know that if
spades started 3-2 you can only succeed if West has
the three spades. So do you play for the queen to be
doubleton with East (rise with the ´ A to drop it) or
do you finesse the ´ J, playing for West to have
started with ´ Q-x-x? The answer is that the ´ Q is
more likely to be in a hand with three spades than a
hand with a doubleton spade, so you should finesse.
This time the odds are not particularly close, so you
will need good reason to play for the drop.
At this stage I will consider another way of
looking at this that you may have spotted. You are
missing the ´ Q and another spade, say the ´ 10.
You might argue that it is equally likely that West
has the ´ Q and East the ´ 10, or that West has the
´ 10 and East the ´ Q. I find it very hard to explain
why this is an optical illusion without getting far too
complicated for this series. It is to do with the order
of small cards already played. If you have a mathe matical
mind you might like to revisit this after
reading a later article, on restricted choice.
Of course, in real life you cannot just look at a suit
in a vacuum. In the next two deals you have to look
at the spades in the context of the whole hand.
First you are in 6´ and the ™Q is led:
Game All. Dealer South.
´ A J 3 2
™ K 4 3 2
t J 7 6
® A 7
´ K 6 5 4
™ A 8
t A K Q
® K 9 5 3
The contract is lay-down if spades break 3-2: just
cash the ´ A-K and leave the missing trump out.
You can then cash your diamonds and crossruff
your way to twelve tricks. You can afford a trump
loser, but you cannot afford to take a failing spade
finesse and allow East to return his last spade,
destroying your cross ruff.
42 English Bridge April 2015 www.ebu.co.uk
Drop or Finesse? (Part II)by Andrew Kambites
NATIONAL TEAMS NEWS
THE team of Alistair Kent (Channel Islands),
Kevin Castner, David Gold (London) and Justin
Hackett (Staffs & Shrops) won the Point-a-Board
event at the National Teams Congress.
The victory in the competition takes David
Gold into irst place in the Player of the Year
Championship, and he holds a six-point lead.
In the Swiss Teams event, which ran alongside
the Point-a-Board event, winners on a split tie
were Steve Root, Jonathan Harris, Steve Capal
and Andrew Sobell (all Middlesex).