Basic Cardplay by Paul Bowyer
Ruffing Losers in Dummy
MY PREVIOUS ar ticle was about the eight top tricks he started with. How the hand instead of grabbing tricks as
counting winners and losers. In general, can declarer do better? soon as possible has an echo from card
when the winners are sufficient for the In this deal it should be fairly obvious play in no-trumps. Have a look at Deal 2
contract, declarer can set about drawing that declarer can make extra tricks by ruf- below where we develop this theme:
trumps. In many hands, though, declarer fing diamonds in the dummy. Here he is
can’t see enough winners even though ruffing in the short hand (with the three-
there may not be many losers. To illustrate card holding), which allows declarer to Deal 2
this, here is a very simple deal: make more than his six top tricks in trumps. South plays in 4™.
The play is easy enough: winning the West leads the tK.
diamond lead declarer ruffs a diamond, ´ 10 3
Deal 1 crosses to hand (with the ace of clubs or a ™ J 10 6
South plays in 4´ . spade) and ruffs his last diamond. The t A653
West leads the tK. winners are actually eight trump tricks ® K632
´ 876 and the minor-suit aces.
™ 9642 If declarer had drawn trumps, he would N
t 4 have failed: South needed those little S
® 87542 trumps in the dummy to be used for
ruffing so should not remove them by ´ A54
playing on trumps. It’s not only the oppo- ™ AKQ98
S nents’ trumps that would get drawn by t 874
playing out three rounds of spades – ® A5
´ A K Q J 10 9 dummy’s would disappear too.
™ 753 Note, incidentally, that leading clubs
t A65 from the dummy and trumping them in Count your tricks as declarer, South. In
® A the South hand does not increase the terms of winners you have one spade,
number of tricks you can make. It is five hearts, one diamond and two clubs.
usually wrong to ruff cards in the long That makes nine. What about losers? You
Firstly, try counting the winners. You can trump hand. This is a mistake that you see have one spade, no hearts, two diamonds
see eight top tricks in the South hand (six often at the table. Ruffing cards in the and no clubs. As in Deal 1, we have an
spades and two aces). Now try counting hand with the long trump suit only apparent discrepancy: nine winners and
the losers. There are no spade losers, three weakens declarer’s hand. Obviously, there three losers.
heart losers, no diamond losers and no are exceptions to this ‘rule’ but the Now it is very important to realise that
club losers. Hmm . . . eight winners, but principle is sound: look to find ruffs in the there is no point in cashing the top clubs
only three losers. Something, somewhere short hand. and ruffing a club (or two) in the South
doesn’t add up. If South wins the king of Some hands require a little preparation hand. You still won’t make any more than
diamonds lead and draws trumps (which, in order to pave the way for ruffs. The five heart tricks and nine overall. That
we will say, split 3–1) all he will make is theme of conceding your losers early in would be ruffing in the long hand, and is
(usually) the wrong thing to do.
The only way of increasing the number
ADVERTISEMENTS of tricks available is by ruffing in the short
hand. Does that give you any ideas? Well,
Although staff of English Bridge and the staff of Danby Advertising (Advertising Agent for English Bridge)
take all reasonable precautions to protect the interests of readers by ensuring as far as practicable that
it should. If you can ruff a spade in
advertisements in the pages of English Bridge are bona fide, the magazine and its publisher, the EBU, can- dummy (North), that will increase the
not accept any undertaking in respect of claims made by advertisers, whether these advertisements are number of tricks by one. However, that
printed as part of the magazine, or are in the form of inserts. Legal remedies are available if redress is means you can’t afford to draw trumps. So
sought, and readers who have complaints should address them to the advertiser or should consult a local the right play is to win the ace of
Trading Standards Office, or a Citizens’ Advice Bureau, or their own solicitors. Readers should note that diamonds at trick one and immediately
prices advertised may not be accurate due to currency exchange rate fluctuations, or tax changes. play off the ace of spades and another
spade, conceding trick three to the oppo-
20 English Bridge October 2012 www.ebu.co.uk