How to Finesse against Split Honors in Bridge

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

Sometimes your opponents have two important honors in the suit that you want to attack in a hand of bridge. If those honors are split and each opponent has one honor, you can finesse those split honors, so you’re playing for split honors.

You have a chance to play for split honors with the cards shown in this image, a hand where you can take two finesses.

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In this image, you have a powerful three-card honor combination in the dummy: the ♠AJ10. You normally attack suits with powerful honor combinations early. Because you’re missing both the ♠K and the ♠Q, two important honors, assume that the honors are split between the two opposing hands:

  1. Start by leading a low spade from your hand, the ♠5, weakness to strength.

    West, second to play, sees that the dummy has a higher spade, the ♠A, than West has with the ♠K, so West properly plays low, the ♠3.

  2. You insert the ♠10 from the dummy.

    East wins the trick with the vQ, as expected (split honors, remember?). Hang on, though; it ain’t over ’til it’s over.

  3. After you regain the lead in another suit, you lead another low spade from your hand, the ♠6.

    Once again, West properly plays low, the ♠4.

  4. You insert the ♠J from the dummy.

    Success! Your second finesse has worked. The missing spade honors were split after all (the ♠K in one hand and the ♠Q in the other). And you have a little bonus in store, to boot.

  5. Take the next trick by playing the ♠A.

    After both opponents follow, that little ♠2 in the dummy also morphs into a trick because nobody has any more spades.

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