By Eddie Kantar
Courtesy of KantarBridge.com
North-South vulnerable, IMPs
Opening lead: ♦2.
East plays the ace, then the queen and then the jack of diamonds. You ruff the third diamond low, West following with the nine and the king. Plan the play from here.
West must have raised on his good looks. In any case you have to bring in the clubs and still keep control of the hand. Best is to play the ace-king of clubs and ruff a low club with the ♥A. Next, return to your hand with a trump and play the KQJ of hearts. If hearts divide 3-3, you have the rest. If hearts are 4-2, play winning clubs and the most you can lose is two diamonds and heart. Yes, if clubs are 3-3 and hearts 4-2, you give up an overtrick, but this is IMPs and making the contract is far more important that risking your contract for an overtrick. (If you draw four rounds of trumps before touching clubs, in effect playing the hand at notrump, down you go.)
The full deal:
THE BOTTOM LINE
Ruffing a loser high when dummy has honor doubleton in trumps is a good way of unblocking the trump suit, not to mention avoiding a possible overruff.
North’s pass over 3♦ shows a minimum opening and denies three-card heart support.