Optimistic or Pessimistic by Alfred Sheinwold
On 24 November, 2015 At 10:00
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Spokane Chronicle – 7 May 1984
Should you be optimistic or pessimistic when you’re threatened by an overruff? At the bridge table the sourpuss usually laughs last.
Today’s West won with the ten of hearts and continued with a heart to the jack. East then led the ace of hearts. When South flamboyantly ruffed with the ace to shut West out, West got two trump tricks, defeating the contract.
Most experts would adopt South’s play in a pairs tournament, where it’s usually proper to risk the contract in search of overtricks. The odds are better than two to one that the five missing trumps will be divided 3-2; and in such cases the high ruff preserves the overtrick. At rubber bridge or teams, however, the safety of the contract is the all-important consideration.
A 5-0 trump break, the only real threat, is highly unlikely but South should take out insurance against the “trump stack” by ruffing the third heart with the deuce of trumps. West overruffs, of course, but then South can easily draw the rest of the trumps and assure his contract.
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