Source: Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph – 25 Abr 1968

Maintaining trump control is the key to most hands played in a suit contract. Declarer must watch his step when repeated ruffs weaken his trump position.

Dealer East. N/S Vul

5 2
K 8 6
A Q 6 3
J 10 4 2
K 9
9 7 5 4 3
8 5 4
K 7 3
7 6 3
A Q J 10 2
10 9
A 8 6
A Q J 10 8 4

K J 7 2
Q 9 5
West North East South
1 1
2 2NT Pass 4
Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: 4

standing: George Rapee, Sam Stayman, B. Jay Becker, John. sottomg: Crawford, Howard Schenken
standing: George Rapee, Sam Stayman, B. Jay Becker. sitting John Crawford, Howard Schenken

Let’s say West leads a heart against four spades. Declarer follows low from dummy and ruffs East’s ten. He enters dummy with a diamond and takes a trump finesse, losing to the king. Back comes a heart and South ruffs again.

He is now at the crucial point of the hand, and, if he slips, he goes down. It would seem natural to draw trumps at this stage, but South would lose the hand if he did this. Having ruffed twice and led one round of trumps he would have only one trump left if he drew East’s spades.

South could then cash his diamonds and lead a club, but the defense would win and return a heart to force out his last trump. Another club lead would prove fruitless, since the defense would win and cash a heart to defeat the contract one trick.

South is sure to run into this dead end if he extracts trumps after ruffing the second heart. To avoid the impasse he should lead a club at trick five. Let’s assume East takes the ten with the ace and leads another heart.

Declarer ruffs, reducing himself to two trumps, and plays another club. West takes the king but he is helpless. If he leads a club or a diamond, South wins and draws trumps to make the rest. If West returns a heart instead, declarer ruffs with dummy’s five, crosses to his hand with a diamond and draws trumps to score the rest.

It may be argued that his method of play subjects South to a club ruff if that suit is not divided evenly. The answer is that the hand cannot be made if South relinquishes control of trumps by drawing them prematurely, and he therefore has no choice but to rely on a favorable club division.