Goren Bridge Society

Ruff or take your tricks?

Today’s deal is from a recent team competition in Australia. Both teams reached four spades after a competitive auction, and both Wests led a low heart.

At one table, where Australian expert Phil Gue was South, declarer won the opening heart lead perforce, cashed the ace of spades, and led a low club to dummy’s queen. What would you do as East after winning your king of clubs? Would you lead a diamond into the king-jack or try to give partner a club ruff? A diamond shift would be the winner, but the East player at Gue’s table led a club. He successfully gave West a club ruff, as Gue unblocked dummy’s ace, but it was with a natural trump trick. West shifted to a low diamond, but Gue realized that he had little chance if East held the ace of diamonds, as he would probably be defeated by a second club ruff. He rose with his king of diamonds, drew the outstanding trumps, and discarded his diamond losers on the long clubs. Making five!

We don’t have a record of the play at the other table, just the knowledge that declarer lost a trump, a club, and two diamonds to finish down one. Did East find the diamond shift at trick four? We’ll probably never know, but we do know this: Many beatable contracts have sailed home when the defense went looking for a ruff rather than just going after their tricks.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 10:12:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/ruff-or-take-your-tricks/article26091676.ece

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