When getting a ruff, remember the cards
Oscar Levant, a pianist, composer, author, comedian and actor, said, “Happiness isn’t something you experience; it’s something you remember.”
Bridge players are happy when they do something meritorious, but some remember errors more clearly than brilliancies. More important, though, is remembering the cards that have been played, if only because each is telling its own story. In particular, when you expect partner to be giving you a ruff, the card he leads to that trick should be sending you a suit-preference signal, telling you which suit to return.
In this deal, defending against four hearts, West leads the spade 10: three, king, four. East cashes the spade ace: seven, two, five. Then East leads the spade eight: queen, heart five, spade six. What should West do next?
North opened one club, being too strong for one no-trump and too weak for two no-trump. East overcalled one spade, having no immediate way to show a spade-diamond two-suiter. After South responded two hearts, North jumped to four hearts, aware that he was underbidding slightly, but not liking his spade holding.
West must ask himself whether East’s spade eight at trick three is high or low. Well, if he has been concentrating, he will know that he has seen every card under the eight. So, the eight is low, and West will shift to a club, which East will ruff to defeat the contract.
If you say every played card to yourself, it will surely make you and your partner happy.