Boca Raton News – Jul 1, 1975 by The Aces

Jan Wohlin of Stockholm, the dean of the paradoxical bridge hands, has come up with another gem. Jan is a regular contributor to the bulletin of the International Bridge Press Association and his wealth of unusual bridge situations is always good for a surprise ending.

In today’s adventure Wohlin theme is: “If a defender is looking for a ruff, try to accommodate him as soon as possible.”

Dealer South All Vul

4
K J 9 5 3
J 10 8 6 5 3 2
A 10 3
Q 6 4 2
A 4
10 7 6 3
5 2
A 10 8
K Q 9
9 8 5 4 2
K Q J 9 8 7 6
7
7
A K Q J
West North East South
2*
Pass 4 Pass Pass
Pass
  • Is 1975 so N/S are playing 2 strong opening bid

South was looking at a virtual game in his own hand and opened a game demand. When North made the negative two no-trump response, South closed shop with a jump to game.

Opening Lead A

West led the A in search of a diamond ruff.  This and a possible trick from partner would give the defense four tricks and a defeated game. The ace of diamonds held and West continued with another, declarer ruffing. The K was led and West took the A. A heart was led to East’s heart suitA and a third round of diamonds crippled declarer’s hopes.

If declarer ruffed high, West’s 10 would become a winner. If declarer ruffed low, the hand would be set immediately.

What could declarer have done?

Wohlin explains the advantages of a loser on loser play (the voluntary play of a card that must be lost in some other suit). After ruffing the second diamond, declarer should have guarded against a trump uppercut. Instead of playing trumps immediately, declarer should have ruffed one of his high clubs in dummy and played a third diamond.

East would win, but declarer would discard the losing heart! Declarer could then win any return and start the trumps in safety.

As long as trumps behaved normally, only one trick need be lost and the defense would be held to three tricks, An unusual twist. The key to success is to give a defender what he’s after; but not when he wants it. Better for declarer to choose the time himself.