Play For An Even Break

The Declarer, in the absence of any positive indication to the

contrary, should base his play upon the probability of an even division

of the cards. That is, with seven of a suit in his own hand and Dummy,

he should play for each of the adversaries to have three; with nine, he

should play on the basis that the four missing cards are equally

divided. In the long run, playing for the even break will net many

tricks, but in a small percentage of instances it will result

unfortunately. The case in which the question most frequently arises is

when either in Trumps or in the Declarer's strong suit in a No-trump,

the two hands hold nine cards headed by Ace, King, Knave. The division

between the two hands may be

Ace, King, Knave, X, X and X, X, X, X

Ace, King, X, X, X and Knave, Ten, X, X

Ace, Knave, X, X, X and King, X, X, X

King, Knave, X, X, X and Ace, X, X, X

or any other.

In all these cases the Knave finesse is tempting, but it should be

refused, and the Ace and King played with the expectation of an even

break which will drop the Queen on the second round. The exceptions to

this general rule occur when

(a) The presence of the Queen in either adverse hand has

been indicated by some declaration or double.

(b) When one adversary has shown unusual length in some

other suit.

In the latter case, it is sometimes wise to play on the assumption that

the adversary, very long in another suit, has but one of the suit in

question, and consequently to finesse the second round on that


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