Mark Twain said, "To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence."
To succeed in bridge, you need two things: knowledge and confidence.
In today's deal, there are two possible lines of play for declarer. Which should he choose after West leads the diamond queen against three no-trump?
South's sequence, an artificial and strong two clubs followed by a jump to three no-trump, showed 25 to 27 points and a balanced hand. Here, North had no interest in going higher.
South starts with eight top tricks: two in each suit. He might get the extra winner from either spades or diamonds. Now, it is true that, given the lead, the diamonds are unlikely to be 3-3. But it does not hurt to find out. So declarer ducks the first trick but takes West's diamond-eight continuation in his hand when East discards the heart queen. (Play the top of touching honors when you cannot win the trick.)
There are two ways to get three spade tricks: cash the ace, cross to dummy, and finesse the jack; or play off the ace and king, planning to continue with the jack. Which is better?
The finesse is 51.2 percent (1.2 percent for West's having the singleton queen plus 50 for East's holding the queen). Playing spades from the top works when the suit is 3-3 or when the queen drops singleton or doubleton. That is about a 60.6 percent chance. We can see which is better.
For success in bridge, maybe you need a third thing: luck. But the better you play, the luckier you will be.
COPYRIGHT: 2012, UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE
SPADES 7 5 3 2
HEARTS 6 4 3
DIAMONDS K 7 4
CLUBS 6 5 2
SPADES Q 9 4SPADES 10 8 6
HEARTS 5 2HEARTS Q J 10 9 8
DIAMONDS Q J 10 9 8DIAMONDS 2
CLUBS Q 10 9CLUBS J 8 7 3
SPADES A K J
HEARTS A K 7
DIAMONDS A 6 5 3
CLUBS A K 4
2 CLUBSPass2 DIAMONDSPass
Opening lead: DIAMONDS Q