Bridge

This hand from the 1977 French trials reminds me of the virtues of not over-ruffing, even when you can and when you are in danger of now losing your trump trick.

The bidding was simple: after two passes, East opened One Diamond, South overcalled with Four Spades and that ended matters.

At a critical table, West led the seven of diamonds and the third round of the suit saw declarer ruffing high. I expect that you can see what happens if he over-ruffs: declarer wins the likely club return, draws the last trump and, with his two spade entries to the table, takes ruffing finesses in hearts to dispose of his club losers.

It did not go like that. When the third round of diamonds was ruffed high, West (Dominique Pilon) calmly discarded! Yes, this could have led to an over-trick - who cares in teams play? - but South was left with the clear impression that the trump finesse was right, and he continued with the ace and another club.

His plan, of course, was to ruff a club on the table and take the "marked" trump finesse, but there was a nasty surprise when East won the second round of clubs and West finally scored his king of spades after the next diamond lead.

Alan Hiron writes on bridge on this page every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as well as in Saturday's Independent and Independent on Sunday.

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