I was East on this deal which produced a spirited auction ending in 4 . My partners jump to 3 was weak and I considered bidding 5 , more as a sacrifice than expecting to make, but I decided to sell out in the hopes of beating them.
West led a heart to my ace and I returned the Q, which was ruffed. Declarer won the A, ruffed a diamond (high) and led a club to my jack. I shifted to a trump and declarer just couldnt get home. He won in hand and ruffed a diamond; next came a club ruff and another diamond ruff to set up his two long diamonds. Alas, he was unable to use them because he couldnt draw my trumps; down one. (It may help to lay out a deck of cards to follow the play.)
Declarer missed a clever maneuver that would allow him to prevail. Instead of ruffing the second heart, he should discard a club. I would then have to lead a trump to stop a complete crossruff, and he can now succeed since his trumps have not been shortened. Win the trump in dummy; A; diamond ruff (high); club ruff; diamond ruff (high); trump to hand; draw trumps and give West a diamond. Declarer still has a trump to gain the lead and win his last two diamonds.
The technique of postponing a ruff (discarding a sure loser instead) is often overlooked and rarely costs a trick. In most cases it doesnt matter, but occasionally, as on this deal, it gives declarer a timing advantage that makes a difference.
© 1999 Richard Pavlicek