There's historically been a close link between rap and bridge. 2Pac himself sang:

"You need to switch and that's why they called you bitch." —2Pac, Wonda Why They Call U

We all know what that's like! Then 50 Cent explored the search for 3NT with the line:

"And I'm gon' shine, homey, until my heart stop." —50 Cent, Hate it or Love it

It seems his bidding was going well until he showed a heart stop, but we've all been there haven't we? Finally, but most pertinently, the slightly less well-known artist who nevertheless did more than anyone to bring the disciplines of rap and bridge together, King Finesse. Quoth he:

"Rap without Finesse is like life without oxygen." —King Finesse, Hip 2 Da Game

He is clearly a man who knows his finesses, but not everyone is so fortunate. Some people have to work hard to get beyond a very basic level of competency, and many fail before they get there. Here are two hands from the EBU Autumn Congress which show the declarers working hard at finessing. It may not have come off this time, but practice makes perfect, as they say.

If you take 100 finesses, one of them is bound to work

E/W Vuln
Dealer N
HK Q 10 5
DA 9 7 5
C9 8 3


(1)Natural, but limited to 17 points
(2)1H would show more points, or some shape

SA Q 9 6
HJ 9 7
D8 2
CA Q J 10
S10 8 5 2
H4 2
DK J 10 3
CK 6 4
S7 4 3
HA 8 6 3
DQ 6 4
C7 5 2

A fairly simple partscore auction sees us defending 2S which on the face of it looks pretty cold. I lead a diamond, which obviates what little guess declarer had there. Luke wins the DA to play two top hearts. Declarer ruffs the third round (Luke might have underlead the HA on the third round with the HJ on the table, but in the real world I should be marked with that card!) and plays a spade to the S9 and SJ. Luke gets out with a diamond and, clearly not having had enough practice, declarer plays the D10 which I win. I play a club and, despite this finesse winning, declarer takes the CK in hand.

At this point, declarer should take stock of what's going on. I've shown up with the DQ, must have the HA and to hold another three points would make my first pass eccentric indeed. But one must also look at the bigger picture. Since a finesse in bridge is a 50/50 proposition, for every one that fails another must surely succeed. So declarer, taking the immutable Law of Averages to heart, finesses in spades again. He may have cost himself a trick and the contract with it, but by taking three losing finesses in the hand, he has shifted the odds nicely in his favour for the next time he comes across another of those pesky AQ combinations.

If you set them up, they will cash them

From a declarer who took too many finesses, to one who took too few — but that was the least of her problems on this deal.

N/S Vuln
Dealer E
S7 6
HA Q 9 4 3
DJ 10 5
CQ 8 7


SA Q J 10 5
HJ 6 5 2
C9 5 4
SK 8 2
DK Q 3 2
CA J 10 6 2
S9 4 3
HK 8 7
DA 9 8 7 4
CK 3

Not an every day auction, but who are we to judge? [We're poorbridge.com, that's who! —Ed] I can't remember my reason for passing over 1C but I'm sure it was, err, a good one. Oppo seem to have done well as 4S isn't a walk in the park. Luke starts off with a trump lead and declarer goes for the interesting tactic of drawing all the trumps. When the club finesse loses and we cash four heart tricks, declarer has second thoughts but finds no undo button. Next comes a diamond, I win the DA and we seem to be in this position:

D10 5
CQ 7
SJ 5
C9 4
CA J 6 2
D9 8 7

Declarer had taken the view that it's better to finesse than to set up tricks the boring way, and had pitched all of dummy's diamonds on the run of the hearts. I played a diamond back which declarer ruffed. She then tried her last spade before taking the club finesse. Sadly, she hadn't practiced hard enough because when Luke followed small she played the CA and had to concede one more trick for three off in what should be a very makable contract.


So what is there to be learned from an article that kicks off with some rap lyrics (and no, I didn't make up King Finesse) before presenting two hands with a very tenuous link between them? Erm. Be kind to small children and animals. The End.