|EIGHT EVER / NINE NEVER|
to Declarer play only. The other maxims: second hand low; third
high; and cover an honor with an honor, were for
What does this maxim, Eight Ever, Nine Never, mean? Eight and nine what? And what is this ever never stuff? Are there any maybes? Or perhaps a few perhaps. And what do the numbers 8 and 9 refer to?
Answers: Ever means ever or always finesse for the Queen; and Never
means never finesse for the Queen. These numbers, 8 and 9,
refer to the combined number of cards in a suit between Dummy and
So if there are eight cards in a suit between Dummy and Declarer’s hand
and the Queen is missing (she ran away with the King?) then take the
With nine cards in the combined hands and the Queen missing do not take the finesse. Play for the Queen to drop by playing the Ace/King. If the Queen does not drop or if the finesse loses then cry, curse, blame your partner or contemplate suicide. For even though bridge is just a card game the psychic / spiritual /emotional stakes are very high.
1. It is Eight/Ever. Play the 5
to the Ace then play the 7
to the Jack. If the Queen is onside and the suit splits 3/2 you
make six tricks.
EXAMPLE 2. It is Nine/Never. So play the
A and K (the order does not really matter) and hope the Queen drops. If it does you have no losers in the suit.
EXAMPLE 3. It is finesse time. But how? Where is the Queen? If you sort of know - from the bidding and previous play - then act accordingly. But if you draw a blank, then try to entice a Defender into playing the lady. Lead the J from Declarer’s hand. If West has the Queen, he might cover the Jack. Remember the old saw cover an honor with an honor.) If the J does not get covered, then win with the A and finesse the other way. That is, play the 2 and let it ride.
EXAMPLE 4: The percentage play (75%) is to play for split honors: Q in one of the ddefender's hand and J in the other. Now take the finesese. If it loses and when you get the lead, finesse again. (see Double Hook.)
With all of these examples it is always assumed that this is the superior (or only) line of play. Watch out for the EXCEPTIONS.
EXAMPLE 6. Declarer wins the third Spade. The danger hand is West. So even though it is 9 Never for Diamonds, do not play for the Queen
to drop. Because if West has the Queen tripleton he will win and run the Spades. Play the K then take the finesse. Even if it loses East can do no harm and the rest of the Diamonds are good. You will make 5 Diamonds, a Spade, 2 Hearts and 2 Clubs for 10 tricks.
EXAMPLE 7. East plays the A and returns the 3 . It seem that East started with a doubleton Diamond. It is 8 Ever in Hearts but do not take the finesse. If the finesse loses West will return a Diamond for East to ruff. And you will lose a Spade; a Heart; a Diamond; and a Diamond ruffed for down one. If you play trump for the drop, even if the Queen does not fall, you will
only lose a Heart, a Spade and a Diamond. Making game.
EXAMPLE 8: There is no finesse even with 8 cards in the suit. The only hope of making all the trump is to play for the Queen and Jack to drop under the Ace and King.
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