Hiron, Maureen, The Independent (London, England)
With a holding of seven cards in a suit, the outstanding cards will break 3-3 approximately one third of the time, and a straight finesse, all else being equal, is a 50/50 shot. Here however, other considerations came into the equation.
Playing Precision Club, South was constrained to open the bidding with One Diamond and West overcalled Two Diamonds, a Michaels Cue- bid, showing the majors. North supported diamonds, East bid spades and South ended in Five Diamonds, against which West, playing 3rd and 5th leads led ]2. Winning with the king, and knowing that no more spades could be cashed, East switched to a heart.
If the clubs break 3-3, dummy's losing heart can be discarded on the third round, but that break is unlikely after West's conventional overcall, as this promised at least five cards in each major. In view of the vulnerability, West was more likely to hold _K.
Therefore declarer rose with _A, played a club to the ace and another to the king, watching anxiously to see if West followed. …