Double Dummy 10

As South, how would you play 4H when West leads the four of clubs? Let’s say South has opened 1H and West has bid spades quite strongly. We can look at the full deal to make the problem into another double dummy one.

Board 6 from Tuesday 30/01/24
Dealer E EW Vul


Do you need Deep Finesse to help you, or is there a sensible and logical line to follow? About 80% of Souths failed to make 4H when a club was led, let’s not even talk about the compulsive ace leaders who gave the game away at trick one.

West’s club is surely a singleton, so run it to the king, if you win the ace first the king may get ruffed. Dummy has great trump support, but there can be no hurry to draw trumps, so play the ace of spades and ruff a spade, and then lead a trump to the king in hand and cash the ace. Trumps don’t break but, undaunted, now lead a club towards dummy. What will West do? Most Wests will be very tempted to ruff, in which case you will discard a losing club from dummy. Then, West might panic and, thinking that another spade will give you a ruff and sluff, or that a diamond trick will run away, may cash the ace of diamonds and play another. You will then make an overtrick! And if West chooses not to ruff in, draw another trump and give up a diamond to West’s queen and if West now cashes the ace as well, you once more can make an overtrick. The suggested line is even better than the more simple one that Deep Finesse will choose. Why? Because the one thing Deep Finesse is worse at than we mortals, is the ability to use a bit of psychology in the play and read a defender’s possible thinking and likely action if their thinking is not faultless, and most Wests in the scenario suggested, will probably go wrong. That is why Deep Finesse will make only four, whereas a mere mortal, if playing against another mortal, might wangle an overtrick, which would never occur to Deep Finesse.