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ON BRIDGE

If you think practice makes perfect, you've never had a child taking music lessons; but some bridge players think they must practice finessing in order to keep from forgetting how.

Today's declarer ruffed the second heart, led a diamond to dummy and returned a trump to finesse with the jack. West took the queen and led another heart; and South ruffed and cashed the A-K of trumps.

When East discarded, South was in hot water since West still had a trump. South reverted to the diamonds; but West ruffed the third diamond and cashed a heart for the setting trick.

South was clearly out of practice since he took a "practice finesse" in trumps. South can afford to lose two trumps and a heart; what he must not do is lose control.

South practices good trump control by taking the A-K after ruffing the second heart. He then starts the diamonds. West can ruff the third diamond low and cash the queen of trumps; but South ruffs the next heart and easily wins the rest.

South dealer

Both sides vulnerable
NORTH
7 5
8 7 6 4
A Q 3
Q 6 3 2
WEST
Q 4 3 2
K Q 10 9
8 7
J 9 7
EAST
8 6
A 5 3 2
10 9 5
10 8 5 4
SOUTH
A K J 10 9
J
K J 6 4 2
A K
South West North East
1 Pass 1 NT Pass
3 Pass 3 Pass
4 All Pass
Opening lead -- K