Better Defending by Andrew Kambites
WHEN IT is obvious that declarer has no If you ruff with the nine of spades, South make it absolutely clear that you want
losers left in the side suits, attention turns must overruff with his king of spades, but partner to ruff), then partner will trump
to making tricks in the trump suit. In the now your partner’s remaining ´J-10-2 is with his singleton nine of spades and
first deal West leads the tA-K-Q-J against sufficient to make a trump trick by force. promote a trump trick for you. However,
4´. Declarer follows suit to the first three This play is called an ‘uppercut’. If you fail consider the full deal:
rounds with the three, four and eight. to ruff with the nine, declarer will ruff low
How should you defend? and draw the remaining trumps for no
loser. ´ Q876
I can now see many readers looking ™ 10 7 6 5
Game All. Dealer South. extremely worried at ruffing partner’s t KQ2
´ Q876 winner here. The obvious question is: ® 92
™ KQ2 ‘What if it doesn’t work? Partner hates me ´ J 10 2 ´ 9
t 10 7 6 5 2 ruffing his winners.’ This is a reasonable ™ AKQJ2 W
® 10 enough concern, particularly because you t A65 S t J 10 9 8 4 3
´ 93 cannot be sure it will achieve anything. I ® J3 ® 87654
™ 10 8 4 3 think you must look at this the other way ´ AK543
E t 9 round. Ask yourself: ‘What other use can ™ 843
® 987654 the nine of spades possibly be to me?’ The t 7
answer is clearly: ‘None,’ so you have ® A K Q 10
nothing to lose.
2NT HHHHH What happens if you don’t cash your ace
3®1 3´ of diamonds first? When East ruffs the
4´ The second deal demonstrates an uppercut fourth heart with the nine of spades,
1 Stayman from the other side of the fence. You lead declarer will not overruff. He will discard
out your ™A-K-Q against 3´, partner his losing diamond and you will never
It is obvious that declarer has the ace of starting with a singleton. What do you do make a trick with your ace of diamonds.
hearts and the ace of clubs, so you must next? There is a simple principle to guide you.
turn your attention to making something
out of the trump suit. You may not be able
to know the exact position but you do know Game All. Dealer South. Before looking for an uppercut, try
that declarer has no more diamonds left. ´ Q876 to cash all of your side-suit winners.
Good technique leads you to ruff this with ™ 10 7 6 5
your highest trump, the ´9. The full deal is: t KQ2
® 92 Perhaps you were unlucky here. If declarer
´ J 10 2 had one more diamond and one fewer
Q876 ™ AKQJ2 N club, you could misdefend without cost.
KQ2 t A65 W However, there was no need to take this
10 7 6 5 2 ® J3 risk.
´ J 10 2 ´ 93 HHHHH
™ 965 N ™ 10 8 4 3 West North East South
t AKQJ S t 9 1´ You have already seen that ruffing partner’s
® J32 ® 987654 2™ 2´ Pass 3™1 winner may be necessary to achieve an
´ AK54 Pass 3´ All Pass uppercut. Many of the principles that you
™ AJ7 1 Trial bid, asking for help in hearts have learned so far will also need to be
t 843 closely examined under a discerning micro-
® AKQ If you cash your ace of diamonds and then scope. In the next, and last, deal you start
lead a fourth heart (preferably the two, to the defence by cashing your tA-K. East
40 English Bridge June 2012 www.ebu.co.uk