The Hamilton Spectator

If you can ruff, do not delay


Robert Orben is primarily a comedy writer, but he has been a magician and was a speechwrit­er for Gerald Ford. Orben said, “I always get to the airport an hour early. That way, I can be one of the first to know that the flight has been delayed.”

At the bridge table, you can sometimes delay a key play, but much more often you should get down to business immediatel­y. How does that apply to this deal? South is in four spades. West leads the heart king. How should declarer proceed?

Over West's takeout double, North's redouble indicated 10 points or more and denied four or more spades. (With four or more spades, North would have responded two no-trump, which should be called Truscott, but is often known as Jordan because he popularize­d the gadget in the United States.) After this redouble, either North and South buy the contract or an opponent plays in something doubled for penalties.

North's three-spade rebid indicated gameforcin­g values with exactly three-card spade support.

South has four losers: two hearts and two diamonds. He has only nine winners: five spades, one heart, one diamond and two clubs. But if declarer can ruff a loser in the shorter trump hand, it will generate an extra trump trick. Here, South should ruff his third diamond on the board. And there is no point in delaying. He takes the first trick and plays two rounds of diamonds.

Suppose West wins, cashes two hearts, and shifts to a club. Declarer wins in his hand, ruffs the third diamond high, draws trumps and claims.

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