A Bridge Phantasmagoria
DUMP A TRUMP
Most of us regard a trump with such awe that we would rather discard an ace rather than a trump, and yet, such is this fascinating game, that there is hardly any rule for which there is not an exception. Occasions do arise when the only correct play is to get rid of a lethal trump, strange as that might seem.
It may be difficult to comprehend how it is possible to discard a trump. This can only occur when an opponent has ruffed and you have the option of discarding a plain suit or a trump by underruffing, i.e. dumping a trump. Here is our first example.
South became declarer at an optimistic contract of Six Hearts. West led off with two top spades although a diamond switch, cutting off the dummy, would have been a killer. South ruffed the second spade with the jack and East had to find a discard. Little did he realise that he was squeezed in the minors at trick two. He had lost all interest in the hand when he had first gazed at his atrocious Yarborough. The fact that he could be the man of the match escaped him completely and he carelessly parted with a club.
South drew all the trumps and cashed his top clubs. The diamond entry to dummy which West could have destroyed earlier, enabled him to get three diamond tricks and the eight of clubs was the twelfth trick. The same thing happens if East were to discard a diamond at trick two as all dummyís diamonds become winners.
Now let us suppose that at trick two, East discards a trump to avoid abandoning a minor. Now when the trumps are run, North has two discards to make in front of East. East has only one discard to make and he can make it in the suit abandoned by declarer and the contract flies out the window.
Admittedly very few would find the trump discard on that hand, but any top class player should come through on our second example.
The final contract was Six Spades by South. Most players would cheerfully play out trumps and accept one down when they failed to break. This particular South had no faith in his luck and had strong vibes that an opponent would have four trumps to the jack. Anyway it would be nice if he were the only one to make contract.
On the club lead he cashed both the ace and king. Entering dummy on a diamond, he ruffed a club and returning to dummy again in diamonds this time he ruffed a diamond.
At last he played a trump to the king and when East gave the nine, he felt sure he was on the right track. The ending had become
Declarer led a club and ruffed it with the queen of spades. The majority of defenders would simply discard a heart, whereupon South would play out the hearts and West would find himself ruffing his partnerís winning heart and having to lead away from his jack of spades. Meantime West was asking himself the reason for all declarerís cantrips and concluded that he could not have AKJ of hearts as then he would have two chances for contract in the heart finesse or a trump break. Therefore, he judged that if he let go a heart, he would be end-played in trumps and so he discarded a dangerous trump. What is more, he also dumped the ten and Queen of hearts under the ace and king, allowing his partner to win the jack and play through the ace and ten of spades.
Dumping a trump had saved the day, but South had some consolation in that all others had gone down also.
In our third hand it is the declarer who does the dumping.
Love all: West deals
West led the eight of clubs and Eastís jack was permitted too hold the trick. Thinking to give South a nasty shock, East played off the ace and another heart to dummy upon which declarer won two spade tricks on a finesse. The two minor aces were cashed and a club was ruffed with dummyís last trump and this was the remainder.
South had to make four of the last five tricks and led a spade from dummy. East saw that if he allowed declarer a cheap ruff, he could return to dummy via the king of diamonds to play a second spade and would be bound to score his two other trumps even if East ruffed high as he would discard the club. The same thing results if East ruffs small. ďNo you donítĒ thought East to himself. He ruffed high, confident that this spiked Southís guns. South discarded the five of trumps!
This threw East completely. He had the choice of playing into the diamond tenace, or playing another trump which South would win on a finesse and draw Eastís other trump with the good ten of clubs and king of diamonds still to come.It is useless for South to discard the club instead of the trump. East will return a diamond and South has to ruff in willy-nilly at the next trick and lose a second trump to East.