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Bridge 1/22
Getting the most tricks from trumps
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    This week we are looking at maximizing the value of our trumps. Sometimes their only use is to remove the defenders’ trumps, so that an opponent cannot ruff a winner. Much more often, though, trumps are used to eliminate losers.
    In this deal, how would you plan the play in four hearts after West leads the spade queen?
    If you had been West, would you have made a takeout double over one heart?
    First, the possibility of a double by West. There are pluses and minuses. The distribution is ideal, but the point-count is a tad low, and the vulnerability is unfavorable. Note, though, that four spades doubled can be defeated by two tricks only if North gets a club ruff.
    Yes, your jump to four hearts was aggressive, but any time you smell a game, bid that game.
    Check out your losers by looking at your own hand and taking dummy’s honor-cards into account. You have four losers: two in diamonds and two in clubs. (You have nine tricks: two spades, six hearts and one club.) But you can ruff one of those club losers in the dummy. After winning the first trick, the simplest line is immediately to play the club ace and another club.
    Let’s suppose East returns a trump, which is usually the right defense when declarer is planning ruffs in the dummy. After winning in your hand, ruff your last club on the board, cash dummy’s last trump, play a spade to your hand, draw the missing trump, and claim.
    You score two spades, seven hearts and one club. The ruff in the shorter trump hand was the extra trick.

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