NEBridge - Frank Hacker: Ruff and ...

Ruff and ...

by Frank Hacker

Originally printed in the U175 Table Talk

This hand was played many years ago as part of the Worldwide Instant Matchpoint Contest. 

East dealer
Both sides vulnerable
  
  North
9 7 5 3
A 8
K J 5
10 7 5 2
 
West
A 10 8
K Q 9 5 2
A 7 6
9 6
  East
K Q
J 6 4 3
9 8 4 3
K 8 3
  South
J 6 4 2
10 7
Q 10 2
A Q J 4
 
       
South West North East
      P
P 1 P 2
P P 2 P
3 P P P

So, North was declaring 3. I was West. Partner’s opening lead was a low heart and my queen fell to declarer’s ace. Declarer led a low spade which partner won, continuing with a heart. I won and led a low diamond to declarer’s king. Declarer led another low spade. Partner won the queen and continued a diamond to my ace. I led another diamond to dummy’s queen. Declarer led the J from dummy to my ace.

To this point, declarer has lost five tricks and must avoid a club loser to avert down two and the dreaded minus 200. We have reached the following end position with the lead in the West.

East dealer
  
  North
9
——
——
10 7 5 2
 
West
——
9 5 2
——
9 6
  East
——
J 6
——
K 8 3
  South
6
——
——
A Q J 4
 

West led the 9 and, all of a sudden, declarer had a serious problem. Obviously, declarer had to ruff in hand to avoid being trapped in the dummy. What was declarer to discard from dummy? A low club would lead to being trapped after the club finesse. Declarer discarded the J, but that didn’t work either. Declarer then led the 10, but East covered with the king and declarer wound up losing a trick to the 8. The only way declarer can avoid a club loser is to save all of dummy’s clubs.

Therefore, the winning play is a ruff and ruff. Declarer must trump the 9 in both hands.