Maybe you can ruff away a loser
By Phillip Alder August 6, 2012 2:10PM
Updated: September 8, 2012 6:10AM
Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee said, “While we believe that cost-benefit analysis is an important tool to inform agency decision-making, the results of the cost-benefit analysis do not trump existing law.”
This week we are looking at how a declarer who has too many losers in a trump contract can eliminate those he cannot afford.
Yesterday we looked at discarding. One of Thompson’s words highlights the second common method. South is in four spades. How many losers does he have, and what should he do after winning the first trick with his heart ace?
South’s jump to four spades is a slight overbid, but we love that vulnerable game bonus!
South, looking at his own hand and taking dummy’s honor cards into account, should see four losers: two diamonds and two clubs. (He has only nine winners: six spades, two hearts and one club.)
The key is the club suit. Whenever declarer has a side suit with more cards in his hand than on the board, he should plan to ruff losers in the dummy.
Note that South starts with six trump tricks. If he ruffs a loser in his hand, he still has only six trump winners. But if he ruffs on the board, he gains a seventh trump trick.
Declarer should cash the club ace and play another club. He wins, say, the heart return, ruffs the club jack high in the dummy, draws trumps, and claims.
If South errs by drawing two rounds of trumps before playing on clubs, West should take his side’s club trick and lead his last trump to kill the club ruff.