When you are missing key cards in a suit, strive to ONLY commit your desired winner AFTER one of your opponents has played their card to the trick.
The Finesse in Bridge Explained
This wee fly is surrounded and will not escape the jaws of the plant which will consume it. Imagine the fly is the bridge honour card you are missing. Set your trap by playing a card towards the card you want to win even though it is not the boss card YET! In the bridge game this is called a Finesse. It is just as gruesome for your bridge opponents as for this unsuspecting fly. But it is perfectly bridge legal, and is indeed one of the key play skills to master if you want to succeed when you play bridge.
On this deal North will make eight tricks if all 5 spades in North’s hands can be turned into winners ie we need the 9,10,J AND Q to win a trick as well as the Ace. This can only happen if we successfully lure the king into our trap and play the ace only when it appears. The technique is to set a low card out as bait and watch the card that is played next. Only now do we play the card we want to win. If the card sits between the low card and our desired winner we can trap it, saving our ace to be played ONLY WHEN the KING appears/or becomes the last outsatnding trump. Click next below to follow the play of the Finesse in action.
Click here to learn what the NEXT, Options, GIB & Play buttons above do. Or try them for yourself at any time
Do I finesse or play for the drop?
Here’s a handy rule for the “Finesse or Drop” calculations.
Divide the outstanding cards as evenly as possible and place the important card in the longer hand. Then see what happens if you play from the top.
Missing the Q in an eight-card fit:
Divide the five outstanding cards evenly (3-2) and place the Queen in the longer holding (Q-x-x). If you play the Ace then King you won’t drop the Queen, so the percentage play is to take the finesse.
Missing the Q in a nine-card fit:
Divide the missing four cards evenly (2-2) and place the Queen in the longer (Q-x).
If you play the Ace and King the Queen will fall. Play for the drop.