Bridge column, August 9: More on losing those losers
When you are the declarer in a trump contract, learn how to lose a loser, because it's important to dispose of that loser to be a winner.
This week we are looking at the two most common ways of eliminating a loser: discarding it on a side-suit winner in the other hand and ruffing it in the shorter trump hand. Also, as we saw yesterday, sometimes you have to combine both techniques. You discard a loser from the board, then ruff a hand loser on the board.
What is the right technique in this deal? South is in four spades, and West leads the heart king.
The auction was straightforward. Even if you use the modern one-no-trump forcing, do not go that route with three-card spade support unless you have only 5 or 6 points and no ruffing value.
South starts with four possible losers: one heart, one diamond and two clubs. The red-suit losers are unavoidable, so declarer must eliminate one club loser.
That will be easy if the six missing clubs split 3-3. Then, after three rounds of the suit, South's last club will be a winner, not a loser. But if clubs are a more likely 4-2, declarer will have to ruff his fourth club on the board. (If clubs are 5-1, South is probably in trouble.)
The simplest line is to win the first trick and immediately to play three rounds of clubs. Then, when South is back in his hand, he can ruff his last club with dummy's spade queen.
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