Browse By

“One Peek is Worth Two Finesses”

Hand evaluation is not something that can be based just on point count alone. Assessing your losers and a bit of visualisation is always necessary, especially on distributional hands. Witness the following deal:

Board 13 from Thursday 13/12/2018

Board#13 13/12/2018

The bidding for South should not be difficult if NS are playing any normal system like Acol, as most would be. After two passes, South opens 1D and then, whatever happens next, South’s next bid is 4S. South has two club losers, and one expected loser in each of spades and diamonds. If North gives South preference to whichever of these suits, South should expect one less loser, so should expect to make ten tricks. By bidding 1D then 4S South has said exactly that. West of course will overcall when South opens 1D and may even make a jump overcall of 2H. East may then contribute to the preemption by bidding three or even four hearts but that should not stop South from bidding 4S.

The play is interesting if South is in spades or West in 5H doubled. If EW have been in the auction against 4S, West should look for tricks as quickly as possible and try the club ace, which gets encouragement by East, and two club tricks is what EW can score. The lead of the heart king looks safe enough but gives a trick away immediately. If by some chance EW are game enough to sacrifice in 5H and get doubled, West will go down three, whereas Deep Finesse as West will go down only TWO, because Deep Finesse does not know about distributional bidding or the theory of “Restricted Choice”. A good declarer will cash the club ace, note South’s queen or jack, and, having taken note of the bidding, finesse against the likely other club honour with North. But, as Deep Finesse will tell you: “one peek is worth two finesses”.

One final comment about the bidding. Had NS been playing “Evil Acol” South would have opened 4S to show at least 6-5 spades and a minor and 4 or 5 losers. If you want to get more out of your Acol you should seriously consider this:

My book “Thirteen Tricks and Evil Acol” is now available at a special rate for Thursday review readers, contact me for a preview or order a book now for great Christmas reading.