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The Finesse

The cards of the Dummy being exposed make it easy for the player
sitting back of him to determine when to finesse. As the object of a
finesse is to catch a high card on the right, it is folly to finesse
against nothing--for example, the leader opens with Knave against a
No-trump; the Third Hand has King and others; when the Dummy has the
Queen, it is obvious the King should not be played unless the Queen
cover the Knave, but when the Dummy holds only worthless cards, the
Third Hand should play the King, as, should he finesse against nothing,
he would allow the Queen to win. The leader has opened either from Ace,
Knave, Ten, or a suit headed by a Knave-Ten combination. In the former
case the play of the King insures every trick; in the latter, it helps
clear the suit. It, therefore, is an example of the rule not to finesse
when the Dummy has nothing.

An apparent exception to this rule occurs when the lead is made in
answer to a declaration, or as an evident effort to find the partner's
strength. For example, the original Third Hand, with six Hearts headed
by King, Ten, and two reentries, has called Hearts. The Declarer is
playing a No-trumper, and the opening is the Knave of Hearts. The Dummy
is without strength. In that case, the Declarer is marked with both the
Ace and Queen of Hearts. The Third Hand should, therefore, play small.
The play of the King cannot be of any benefit, and should the Declarer
have the Nine, will be most expensive. This really is not a finesse
against nothing, but, the position of the winning cards being marked,
is merely a conservation of strength.

The same general principle applies in many similar cases; when,
however, a small card is led, the Third Hand should not finesse, unless
the Dummy contain some high card.

Playing No-trump, the following finesses are advisable over the Dummy:--

King Ace, Queen
Ace, Knave
Ace, Ten

King, Knave Ace, Ten
Ace, Nine

King, Ten Ace, Nine

Queen Ace, Knave
Ace, Ten
King, Knave
King, Ten

Knave Ace, Ten
King, Ten
Queen, Ten

Do not, however, except with a fourchette, finesse against Queen or
Knave singly guarded, when it is evident that the Declarer and Dummy
hold only four cards of the suit, and the Ace or King is marked with
the leader.

When playing No-trump, as a rule do not finesse if so doing will block
the partner's suit.

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