When the hand was played in real
life, West led a Club, found East with the ♣A
and got the immediate gratification of a Club ruff at Trick 2. But was that
really a good thing? Absolutely not! West’s robust trump holding was virtually
certain to score two trump tricks anyway, and getting that Club ruff merely
served to weaken West’s trump holding and set up Declarer’s trump winners.
There’s a better lead, of course, what is it?
Yes, West must lead the ♦K. There’s
usually not much point in chasing ruffs when you will be doing so at the expense
of the natural trump winners. With such a trump holding it’s usually better to
play a forcing game, leading your strong suit and forcing Declarer to
ruff, hopefully weakening her trump holding fatally. Here is the full deal:
First look what happened when the
deal was played in real life. West led that Club, got his ruff, and shifted to
won in Dummy. That was followed by a trump to the Queen and West’s Ace. West
persisted with Diamonds, but Declarer ruffed that, drew the remaining trumps,
and had nothing left but winners. Making 10 tricks!
Now look what happens when West
tries the forcing game. Declarer wins the opening Diamond lead, loses a trick
to the ♠A, ruffs the Diamond continuation, and then gets the bad news about the
4-1 trump split. Declarer must still lose a trick to the ♣A and now another
Diamond is ruinous and 4♠ goes down. To repeat, the moral to this story is:
When you have a powerful trump holding it usually doesn’t pay to go after
ruffs. Better to attack with the defense’s strong suit, forcing Declarer to
weaken his own trumps and (hopefully) to lose control.