Played bridge with my friend Bettie McLean at her Brookside Country Club game (1 April 2014). On the final board I played 6N:
S QJ9 S T876
H J7543 H 83
D T62 D Q84
C Q7 C 8542
West led the H4 to my 9. I successfully finessed and played clubs. West first and easily discarded a diamond, convincing me he did not have the Q. I saw two possibilities for a 13th trick, either a pseudo-squeeze of East in diamonds and spades or leading KJ from the board to smother West’s T. When no squeeze materialized, I finally played the diamond KJ, East covering with the Q and establishing my 9 as the 13th trick for a top. I realized that against experts, with West’s hand with the diamond Q instead of the T I should promptly discard a diamond to encourage Declarer to try my line and fail, when the finesse would work.
The next day I played with my mom in Bethlehem. On the following board my mom was playing 4H against Lew Schor (West) and Stan Yellin (East, hands rotated).
S T9832 S QJ74
H QJ H 52
D K74 D J853
C AK7 C 654
Lew led the CA and got a discouraging 4 from Stan. Nevertheless he continued clubs, apparently establishing dummy, but with the following brilliant effect. Declarer, no longer needing to ruff a spade, could play a heart to the K, dropping the Q. Following restricted choice, Declarer now took the finesse, losing to West’s J for a top for West. Without the club continuation, Declarer would ruff a spade, be unable to take the heart finesse, and drop the Q. Indeed, seeing the hopeless situation outside trumps, West should tempt Declarer with the heart finesse exactly as he did, a brilliant play.