Creating extra trump tricks or Fust but not fazed

Jeff Fust is a Victorian bridge teacher. The following hand comes from a Swiss Pairs congress in which Fust, sitting East, was partnering Leeron Branicki. It contains a good example of  “Creating Extra Trump Tricks”, or the Fifth Line of Defence as Fust terms it.

Dealer West, EW vul.

          S K7
          H AKJ6
          D Q9
          C AKT72
WEST                EAST
S AJ                S T5
H 982               H QT75
D AKJ86             D 742
C J93               C 8654
          S Q986432
          H 43
          D T53
          C Q

Branicki      Fust
1D    Dble    Pass  4S

South’s dramatic jump to 4S concluded the auction. Branicki led the DA and Fust signalled encouragement, despite having three small diamonds. Branicki continued with the DK and DJ, ruffed by dummy’s S7. The SK was then led, won by Branicki’s SA.  She then played the D8 allowing Fust to ruff with the S10, promoting the SJ as the setting trick for the defence.

This play of ruffing to force out a high trump, in the hope of promoting a trump trick for partner, is known as an “uppercut”. The next deal contains another example.

South dealt and the auction started with three passes, leaving East to decide whether to open or pass the hand in. With the points split fairly evenly between the two sides, the pair with spades will often prevail, so East ventured 1S, then passed West’s 2H response (non-forcing by a passed hand). How should the play proceed?

          S 97
          H JT8
          D JT82
          C AKT5
WEST                EAST
S A                 S KQT84
H A9765             H K32
D 7543              D K6
C Q87               C 432
          S J6532
          H Q4
          D AQ9
          C J96

On the CA lead, South signals discouragement so North switches to the DJ. South may cash the second diamond trick before leading the CJ (high-low from the remaining doubleton) to partner. Soon the defenders have taken five minor suit winners.

If North now plays the last club, South can ruff with the HQ, a successful uppercut which drives out the HA from declarer’s hand, promoting an extra trump trick for North, and the contract is thereby taken two light.

“I had to open in fourth seat with long spades,” offered East. “They were certainly effective,” agreed West, “at digging a ditch for me to plunge into.”

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