South had his cowboy boots on in the auction, but the final contract was sound.
The defense started with two rounds of diamonds. Declarer ruffed the second round and began to set up his spade suit. He led a spade to the ace, a club back to his ace, and then cashed the king of spades. West followed low smoothly when South led the jack of spades. Declarer, quite reasonably, ruffed this in dummy hoping that the spades were splitting 3-3. How would you defend from here with the East hand?
Did you choose to overruff and lead a minor, or a trump? If you did, you will soon be watching South score up his game. South can easily ruff another spade, establishing the suit. You can ruff again, if you like, but declarer will have no trouble drawing trumps after you have ruffed with your high ones.
The winning defense is for East to refuse to overruff. South can ruff a minor back to his hand and ruff another spade, but East will refuse to overruff again. Declarer can lead a trump to his hand, but is helpless after that. Another trump and East can draw trumps. A high spade instead allows West to ruff with the seven of hearts.
There are exceptions, of course, but it is usually best not to ruff with natural trump tricks. They will take tricks later anyway, so have a good reason before you use one up by ruffing. South might have been a cowboy on this deal, but East was the Sheriff who kept him under control.
(Bob Jones welcomes readers’ responses sent in care of this newspaper or to Tribune Content Agency, LLC., 16650 Westgrove Dr., Suite 175, Addison, TX 75001. E- mail responses may be sent to email@example.com.) (c) 2016 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.