Finesse a Bridge Hand with a Hole in Your Honor Cards

5 of 9 in Series: The Essentials of Finessing in Bridge

Sometimes, the honor cards that you hold in a hand of bridge have a big hole in them. For example, you might have the ace, queen, and jack in a suit. But what can you do without the king? You can fill that hole with a finesse.

This image shows you a suit where you can repeat your finesse to great success. This particular finesse has “holy” overtones (because of the hole, get it?). You have three honor cards in your hand (♠AQJ), but they aren’t all equal honors. A “holy” suit is a finessable suit:

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  1. Lead a low spade, the ♠3, from the dummy (from weakness toward strength).

  2. When East plays low, the ♠5, play the ♠Q to win the trick.

    You remain with the ♠AJ in your hand.

  3. If you want to take a trick with the ♠J, return to the dummy in another suit and lead another low spade, the ♠6.

  4. When East plays low again with the ♠9, you play the ♠J and take the trick.

  5. East plays the ♠K, which doesn’t do her any good — you just zap it with your ♠A.

    You just took three tricks in the suit.

When you have equal honors in your hand, such as the ♠QJ, play the higher equal first. It makes it much harder for the defenders to know which honor you’re concealing. However, when you have equal honors in the dummy, the hand that both your opponents can see, which honor you play first doesn’t matter.

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