Mark Blumenthal

Idiot’s Finesses – 4

For those who either love or hate these, this is the last example I have of this play. Of course, I can’t promise I won’t have another later. This last  one was given to me by Walt Walvick many years ago.  It illustrates the height  of artistry to which one take the idiot’s finesse. Even ostensibly dull hands such as West’s may become exciting.



West East
xxxx QJ10
xxx xxx
J107 Q95
xxx Jxxx

Walt Walvick and Mike Garner cooperated beautifully to defeat six no trump which seems to be cold. Declarer won the opening lead of on the opening spade lead in dummy and seeing only one source for a twelfth trick, led a small diamond to the six hoping the suit would break three three, three.

Mike, sitting West, won this with the diamond jack instead of the seven! After running off his winners, declarer declarer laid down his ace of diamonds. Walt contributed to the confusion by following with his queen. Mike played seven the ten. Now when declarer led the the three of diamonds from dummy, Mike was able to follow with the seven, and perhaps dazzled by all the losing to the nine. e high cards that had appeared in the suit, declarer finessed the eight, losing to the nine. It was a very unlucky hand because he was playing against these defenders.

Incidentally, the most important technique to master in successfully executing an idiot’s finesse is to refrain from laughing while declarer is thinking. When you you have have successfully presented an opportunity for declarer to take an idiot’s finesse you should look at him or her. You should never look at your partner. It is impossible for you and your partner to look at each other and keep straight faces.

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