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Trump Control
Toby on defence

Here's an interesting hand from a Cambs and Hunts league match, where I failed to find the most killing defense. Fortunately, we won the match 20–0 anyway, so my inaccurate defense was irrelevant.

South deals  S
 H A 6 
 D J 6 5 4 
 C T 8 6 4 3 2 
 S Q 5 2 
 H K T 3 
 D K Q T 9 7 4 
 C
none vul  S T 8 6 3 
 H J 8 4   
 D
 C A K Q 7 5 
 S A K J 7 4 
 H Q 9 7 5 2 
 D A 8 
 C

West
Rob


2D
pass

North



pass
2S

East
Toby


pass
all pass

South


1S
2H

Rob led his C9, and I returned the D3. Declarer won the DA and HA, and led back to the H9 and T. Rob now cashed the DK (I pitched a heart) and led the DT, which I ruffed with the S8 (an uppercut—forcing declarer to overruff with a high trump) and declarer overruffed with the SJ.
South deals  S
 H  — 
 D
 C T 8 6 4 3 
 S Q 5 2 
 H
 D Q 9 7    
 C  — 
none vul  S T 6 3 
 H  — 
 D  — 
 C A K 7 5 
 S A K 7 4   
 H Q 7 5 
 D  — 
 C  — 
This was the position:

She now ruffed a heart with dummy's S9, and I overruffed with the ST and led back the CA. She found the key play of ruffing with the S4. Rob overruffed with the S5, and led back another diamond, which I ruffed with the S6. Declarer could now overruff with the S7, draw trumps, and cash her two good hearts. It makes no difference if Rob refuses to overruff—declarer just draws two trumps and runs the hearts until Rob ruffs with his last trump (I have only two trumps by this stage). Contract made.

If declarer had ruffed with the S7, Rob could have overruffed with the SQ, and returned a diamond. Now, when I ruff with the S6, declarer must overruff with the SK, and Rob's S5 is promoted!

So my line gave declarer a losing option, but there was a better line, which gives declarer no winning option: don't overruff the S9! Now declarer is stuck in dummy, and must ruff something back to her hand, so she can't draw all the trumps and run the hearts.