An obligatory finesse occurs when declarer is "obliged" to duck an honor. For example:

Dummy
K765
WestEast
??? ???
South
SQ432


Needing 3 tricks in the suit, you lead toward the king, which holds the trick. You continue with a low card from dummy, East playing low. At this point, you have an obligatory finesse. Play low from dummy and hope that West started life with the doubleton ace.

Another example:

Dummy
Q32
WestEast
??? ???
South
SK7654


You lead low to the queen, which wins. A spade back to hand should be ducked in case West began with a doubleton ace.

See also

  • Backward Finesse
    A finesse that's taken in the "opposite" direction of a regular finesse.

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

  • Double Finesse
    A finesse against two opposing honor cards.

  • "Eight Ever, Nine Never"
    A rule for finessing with 8 or 9 cards missing the queen.

  • 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.

  • Ruffing Finesse
    A finesse for 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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