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Love all;

dealer North

BROWSING THROUGH recent columns, I've noticed that the theme of presenting declarer with a ruff and discard as the winning defensive line has occurred more than once of late. However, it's not a practice to be entered into indiscriminately - it tends to cost more often than it gains. On today's hand, from the Ladies' Teams at the 1999 Generali European Bridge Championships, the Turkish defender in the South seat employed this ruse in order to present declarer with a losing option in another suit.

South opened One Heart, West doubled for take-out, North passed and East bid Two Diamonds. Two Hearts from South was followed by Three Hearts from West, which didn't excite East, who stoically responded Four Diamonds to end the auction.

On lead, South cashed her two top hearts, her partner signalling an initial holding of three. South was sure that her partner held the ace of clubs and little else, otherwise North would not have passed West's double, and East surely would have jumped to game over the Three Heart bid if she had held it. Therefore she continued with a third heart, which declarer ruffed in dummy, discarding a small club from her hand.

East now cashed two roundS of diamonds and three rounds of spades ending in her own hand, then led a club to dummy's king and North's ace. North promptly returned a club to South's queen to defeat the contract.

Without the ruff and discard declarer would have had to run the jack of clubs, playing South for the queen.