Bridge

"If you know that your partner is void, give him a ruff rather than cash a winner if the latter play sets up one or more winners for declarer." That was a tip given by Ron Klinger in his 50 More Winning Bridge Tips (Gollancz, pounds 5.99) and well illustrated by today's deal.

East opened 1# and South overcalled with 14 (some more dynamic action might have proven more effective). West bid 2! and, after a pass by North, East raised to game. In spite of his sterile distribution, South fought on rather dangerously with 44 and, after doubling, West led #5.

The sight of dummy must have eased South's conscience, for 4! seemed likely to make and 44 could not be too expensive. You can see what happens if East cashes both of his top diamonds and leads a third. Certainly this allows his partner to score with 4K, which otherwise might not have made, but meanwhile South has not ruffed but discarded his losing heart. Now, after winning whatever West returns, declarer can draw trumps and throw his remaining loser on one of dummy's established diamonds.

What would have happened if East had followed Ron's tip? Clearly the lead was a singleton, so after East wins with the king, a low diamond allows West to ruff. Certainly declarer can pick up the missing trumps without any problem, but dummy's diamonds are all dead and, in the fullness of time, he must lose both a heart and a club to go one off.

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