Thursday, May 28, 2009

What if trumps don't split?

This deal was played in a local duplicate game. How would you plan to make 10 tricks after West leads the Q?

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

Most of the declarers played for four trump winners whenever the suit breaks 3-2. There are five top winners on the side and one diamond ruff will be enough to make 10 tricks. After playing to the K and another spade, they discovered the 4-1 trump split and that line didn't work on this layout. They lost two trumps, a diamond and a club.

Tommy Technique showed how to take 10 tricks. He cashed the A K and led another and ruffed. East overruffed and returned the J taken in dummy. T.T. next cashed the K, then ruffed a heart back to his hand to ruff his last diamond.

It did not matter whether East overruffed or not. All T.T. would lose was one club and two trump tricks. When East had started with two trumps, he would have no trump to overruff the fourth round of diamonds. If he had started with three (or four), once he overruffs the second time, there is only one trump outstanding and South can pick that up with his A.

Here is the BBO Handviewer:

Click "next: in the diagram above to advance trick by trick.


  1. Nice hand... I'm wondering if declarer might instead of ruffing the fourth diamond pitch a club from the board. Then he ruffs the third club instead. Maybe if East is eg 3-4-2-4 this produces an overtrick?

  2. Hi Barry, thanks for the comment.

    At first, I agreed with what you said. To be sure, I put it in Deep Finesse. At the point you discard a club, dummy has one trump left. When West wins, he can return his spade to kill the ruff in dummy.