Con­tract Bridge

The Weekly Vista - - Fun & Games - by Steve Becker

Trump rich

De­clarer nor­mally makes a sur­vey of his win­ners and/or losers when he starts to play a hand. If he is in a suit con­tract, he counts his losers; in notrump, he counts his win­ners.

How­ever, this ap­proach has its ex­cep­tions, es­pe­cially in suit play, when there are ruffs avail­able in one or both hands. In such cases, de­clarer might find it more con­ve­nient to count win­ners in es­ti­mat­ing his prospects.

Thus, in the present case, if South counted only his losers, he would point to three in spades and (as­sum­ing he saw West’s cards) as many as five trump tricks. This would amount to a 1,400-point set­back.

But the fact is that South need not lose eight tricks. In­deed, if he ex­er­cises no more than a rea­son­able de­gree of care, he can hold his losses to only three tricks and make the con­tract, de­spite West’s for­mi­da­ble ar­ray of trumps!

He wins the di­a­mond lead with the ace and em­barks on a cam­paign to score as many of his low trumps as he can. He re­turns a di­a­mond to the king and ruffs a di­a­mond, then cashes the A-K of clubs and ruffs an­other di­a­mond.t

South has now won six tricks — two di­a­monds, two clubs and two di­a­mond ruffs — and still has the J-7-6 of spades and A-Q-10-8 of hearts. West has the seven trumps he started with.

De­clarer leads a spade, forc­ing West to ruff and re­turn a trump to hand South his sev­enth trick. De­clarer plays an­other spade, forc­ing West to ruff and lead an­other trump, hand­ing South his eighth trick.

Fi­nally, when de­clarer leads his last spade, West must ruff once more and re­turn a trump to South’s A-Q to hand de­clarer his ninth and 10th tricks. Al­to­gether, West is end­played in trump three times!

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