The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part LXXIX: The King of Finesse
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank’s bridge club was recently honored by the visit of one of the country’s leading bridge players, Jasper J. Jesper, commonly known as the King of Finesse. Jasper is well known in bridge circles for the following observation: “Some players feel that a finesse is but a guess. However, a good finesse is a joy forever. One should always strive to play bridge and live life with a great deal of finesse.”
Poor Frank was paired up with Jasper when the following hand was played:
In the auction, two clubs was strong, artificial and forcing. Three clubs showed four controls, which, in this case, could only be the two missing aces. When Poor Frank supported hearts, Jasper quickly bid the grand slam, relying on his finesse to pull him through.
West led the four of clubs and Jasper was off and running. He played the jack of clubs, successfully finessing West (Lucky Archie) for the queen. The ten of hearts was led and East’s queen of hearts was now finessed. The King soon drew the rest of the trumps and surveyed his domain. A small club to dummy’s ace allowed him to lead a diamond to the queen, as Jasper triumphantly finessed East’s king.
Spades was now the only suit left in which Jasper had not managed to execute a finesse. The temptation proved too great for him. He led a small spade to dummy’s ace, returned another spade, and inserted the jack when East played low. Alas, this finesse did not work. Lucky Archie gloatingly produced the queen for the setting trick. This was an excellent result for the Lucky One and allowed him to surpass Poor Frank and Jasper for that evening’s laurels.
Poor Frank commented after the hand was over, “Well, Jasp, I think you went a finesse too far.”
The King replied, “If a hand cannot be played with finesse, then it should not be played at all.”
Readers may, of course, judge the merits of Jasper’s remarks for themselves. It may be of some interest that when Poor Frank drove Jasper to the airport the next day, he noticed the King was reading a book on squeezes and endplays.