Andre Asbury

Ruffing with a Singleton Trump

In this hand, you are defending 2 . 2 was two-way new minor forcing, 2 was forced and 2 showed an invitational hand with 4-4 in the majors. How can the defense set the contract?

Dealer: W

Vul: Both

West East
West North East South
1 Pass 1 Pass
1NT Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
Pass Pass

It’s rare that you get a chance to use a singleton trump to ruff. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be on the lookout for such an opportunity. In this hand, the bidding marks south with 1-2 in the majors. Many people, even experts would say this is a time to lead the unsupported A. I do not disagree, but at the table I chose a club. This time they work out the same but let’s say you lead the club. North takes the ace and shift to the 6, playing 3rd/5th best leada against suits. You, south, win the Q, cash the A, and then what? Partner follows with the T. Declarer played the 4 and 8. What now? You can now count 4 tricks for your side. Partner may have a spade trick or the diamond K or the heart K (but probably not more than one of the 3) or even a singleton club. Why did partner play the T of hearts? He knows you cannot continue hearts so it’s not an attitude signal. Surely he is suggesting to lead back the higher remaining suit (diamonds) instead of clubs. With a singleton club, he would have folloed to the second heart with the 3 and with no preference would have played a middle spot card.

If you had started with a diamond lead, partner would have encourage with the 2 at trick one. You continue, get a heart through and this time he will follow to the 2nd heart with a low one because he has a club entry rather than wanting you to try for a trump promotion by leading another diamond.

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