Keep­ing up good ruff­ing work

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH - BY PHILLIP ALDER

What is a ruff? The an­swer you get will de­pend on the per­son.

Some will men­tion the item of cloth­ing that was pop­u­lar from the mid-16th to mid-17th cen­tury.

Oth­ers might com­ment on the wad­ing bird.

A bridge player will talk about win­ning a trick by us­ing a trump; and he might add that if that ruff does not oc­cur in the longer-trump hand, it will gen­er­ate an ex­tra trump trick.

How is that rel­e­vant in to­day’s deal? South is in six hearts, and West leads the spade queen to dummy’s bare ace.

North’s three-spade re­bid was a splin­ter, show­ing four­card heart sup­port, at least game-go­ing val­ues and a sin­gle­ton (or void) in spades. Four clubs was a con­trol-bid promis­ing the club ace and ex­press­ing slam in­ter­est.

South had only eight top tricks: one spade, four hearts, two di­a­monds and one club. Ruff­ing spades on the board was dan­ger­ous be­cause it risked es­tab­lish­ing a trump trick for a de­fender. In­stead, de­clarer re­al­ized that it was bet­ter to ruff di­a­monds in his hand.

South cashed dummy’s di­a­mond ace, ruffed a di­a­mond, played a trump to dummy, ruffed an­other di­a­mond with the heart ace, drew West’s trumps, ran the rest of the di­a­monds and con­ceded a club at the end.

He took one spade, four hearts, four di­a­monds, one club and the two ruffs.

Note that with this lay­out, draw­ing a round of trumps at trick two would have been fa­tal.

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