Travelling in France, more precisely in Fougères (south of St-Malo), my wife discovers in a shop a small candy box with irresistible colours (tomato and crowned with a turquoise line) that she decides to buy for her sister. Absolutely beautiful.
Leaving Fougères, I learn that we will have to find a solid container
to transport this fragile vase ! Logic, I tell myself.
The next day, we pass through Villedieu-les-Poêles (Villedieu-the-Pans
literally). Why this name? Because there they just
make and sell pots and pans. Always logic! Walking through
the village, there is however a problem: there are 80 shops of stoves
and pans. Where to buy?
My wife, eminently logical, asks the butcher: When you want to buy
cooking things, where do you go? And the butcher tells us of
a mill, Mauviel, just outside the village.
My wife goes in there with the mission to buy an oval casserole large
enough to house the poor little candy box. These Mauviel pots, it must
be said, are the best in the world: copper outside (the copper is the
best conductor of heat) and stainless steel inside. The candy
box finally finds refuge in the casserole and everyone heaves a big
sigh of relief.
However, when we go to pay, we learn that we cannot enjoy the Tax-free
(18%) unless we buy for a higher amount. We then buy something else to
achieve this amount. Logic, I said to myself, a little dizzy by the
speed of the women’s mind. At the very least, I put it in the box
To-understand-later, wondering if I will ever one day access this
higher form of intelligence. We spend 100 Euros more and in
order to save 50. Logical, no? To convince me even
more, my wife puts an end to any hint of "But…" by saying:
"We saved money because, even if the cooker had cost twice as much, I
would have bought anyway!"
Imagine all the Taxes that we could have saved then!
Change of subject, but always in the same vein: do you know why my
wife, a former smoker, no longer wants to smoke ? Because she
knows now she can stop! I know, I know, this form of logic
escapes you, you’re probably still trying to understand the episode of
the pots and pans, but we must recognize one day that we, men, are
So I don’t really know why I bother to ask the next question, because I
am sure you will fail miserably: what
is a finesse ? And don’t answer me like they do
in France: "But, sir??" As if the answer was obvious. Let’s
an example, maybe you will understand better (I hope. If so,
you will explain me later).
Suppose you play the Queen, West plays small, dummy plays small and
East wins the King. Have you taken a finesse ?
According to my wife, No,
because East won its King. Now
suppose you play the Queen and West covers, you win the Ace.
Have you taken a finesse ? Still No, since West
The only real finesse, according to my wife, is this: you play
the Queen and it goes small, small, small, no matter the position of
King. Brilliant, I tell myself sometimes at night, when
I have insomnia.
You play 3NT with a diamond lead.
I played this hand in Biarritz against French world champions
There are many tricks available in diamonds and clubs, but how can you
cash them ?
Communications are almost nonexistent. You can unblock in diamonds,
play a heart to the Queen (necessary for the success of the contract)
and play King of Diamonds and diamond, but I chose another line.
As you have to place the Ace of clubs on your left to avoid the killing
spade switch through your King, I played a club at the 2nd trick, and
dummy’s Queen won. A little relieved, I played another club from
dummy. West ducked, of course (not my partner to other table,
but he has a good excuse : he is not world champion). I
returned to hand with a Diamond and I played the club King, West won
the Ace. West had started with 4 diamonds and 4 clubs.
West returned a diamond, dummy’s King won and I am locked in
dummy. What to do now?
Do you see the solution? If you have never bought a casserole
in Villedieu-les-Poêles to house a candy box for the sister of your
wife, and if you did not then spent 100 Euros more in order to save 50,
you do not have access to this way of thinking, to this form of logic
that would have confused St. Thomas himself.
Think about it a little: if the heart finesse was necessary to the
success of this contract, then the King has to be with West.
And it is still there, because cards do not travel during the play.
I played the Queen of hearts from dummy, unblocking the 10 from hand,
sort of reverse finesse, apparently outlandish, but quite logical, that
I have learned by shopping with my wife.
Well, my friends, there was a long silence. Adad, to my
right, threw me a glance meaning without doubt: This guy
plays like my wife!
Aujaleu, to my left, also threw me a glance, put his cards on the table
and began to think, a good 5 minutes, saying obviously to
himself : Who is this guy? And how come he
knows Adad's wife ?
I saw that they were stuck, the world champions. World
Champions of what? Of men, and only men.
If Aujaleu takes his heart King and his Ace of Spades (him or his
partner), I will make the rest. If he ducks the heart Queen,
I end play him in diamonds and the result is the same. After a good
amount of time, Aujaleu decided to duck, hoping for the 9 of hearts
I end played him in diamonds and he returned a club. I won
and played the Jack of hearts, he covered and I then made the
9 in my hand for 10 tricks, a gain of only 1 Imp, but an
important psychological victory (we won the match by one mile).
How would you call this play ?
Follow closely : the finesse is good, but we don’t take it.
Not only we don’t take it, but we don’t take it because it is
good. Pretty deep, no ?
And when we play the heart Queen from dummy, we make a reverse finesse,
as the original finesse was good.
Still following ?
And when West ducks the heart King, well, we obtain the exact
definition of a finesse according to my wife.
Would you like me now to explain the logic behind the buying of the
casserole and the 100 Euros spent in order to save 50 ?
Not today, you say ? Too bad.
I leave you still with this thought:
The next time someone tells you play as a woman, say Thank you and be
grateful to your wife because, by forcing you to shop with her, she
educated you and succeeded in getting you out of your macho thinking.