A backward finesse is a simple finesse that's taken in the "opposite" direction:

Dummy
KJ9
WestEast
T42 Q876
South
SA53


In this layout, imagine that South needs three spade tricks. The natural line would be to lay down the SA and lead toward the jack. In practice, this would lose to East's queen.

If South can deduce where the queen is, however, then the SJ can be led through East. If East covers with the queen, South wins the ace and then finesses West for the ST.


Example

Dummy
KT983
AJ9
J6
542

South
SAJ762
HK42
D9543
CQ


West

Pass
North
Pass
4
East
1H
All Pass
South
1S


South makes a simple overcall but gets propelled into game by North.

West's opening lead is the DK, and East signals encouragement with the D7. West proceeds with the DA, followed by the CJ. East wins the CK and tries the CA, which South ruffs.

Having lost three tricks already, South must run the table. 20 combined HCP are in the North-South hands, and West has shown 8 HCP. Consequently, East probably holds the most or all of the remaining 12 HCP for his 1H opening bid.

South should therefore realize that a backward finesse is in order. After drawing trumps (they split 2-1), South leads a heart to dummy's ace and swings the HJ through East.

The full deal:

North
KT983
AJ9
WestJ6East
54542J
T3Q8765
AK8SouthQT72
JT9873SAQ762AK6
HK42
D9543
CQ


If East covers with the HQ, South wins and ruffs two diamonds in dummy to make the contract. If East ducks, South simply ducks as well and continues with a heart to his HK for the same result.

See also

  • Chinese Finesse
    The lead of an unsupported honor as a pretense to a legitimate finesse.

  • Double Finesse
    A finesse against two opposing honor cards.

  • Intra-Finesse
    A type of finesse against three opposing honor cards.

  • Marked Finesse
    A finesse made obvious by the auction or play of the hand.

  • Obligatory Finesse
    A type of ducking play that finesses an opposing honor.

  • Ruffing Finesse
    A finesse of an enemy card (usually an honor) by threat of a ruff.

  • Simple Finesse
    A finesse for a card (usually an honor) held by the opponents.

  • Triple Finesse
    A finesse against three opposing honor cards.

  • Two-Way Finesse
    A card combination in which either defender can be finessed for a queen.

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