Janet de Botton

Bridge | 26 August 2023

To over-ruff or not to over-ruff? THAT is the question.

Terence Reese said: ‘When you’re offered an over-ruff, think twice about it, and then reject it.’ If you have a natural trump trick, it’s usually wrong to waste it on an over-ruff, but when you don’t, it can be hard to resist. Good old Terence was right though (he usually was); it often costs at least one trick, sometimes more…

The Chairman’s Cup in Sweden at the end of July was won by a multi-national team led by Gillian Miniter, from the USA, playing with Joe Grue, Tom Paske and – almost inevitably these days – the Rimstedt brothers.

Here’s one of them – probably Ola – at the helm in a contract illustrating the point above.

The non-vulnerable twins did a lot of bidding, owing each other about a trump each for the final contract.

West decided on a Heart lead. Ola won in dummy and started Clubs. East won the king and shifted to a Spade. Dummy’s Ace won and another Club went to East’s Ace, who forced Declarer with another Spade.

South played another Club and ruffed with the two in dummy and East – playing far too quickly –saw the chance to make a trump trick he never thought he had, and overruffed…

This cost not one but two tricks: Declarer was still one trump longer than East, so could take the force, draw trumps and enjoy three good Clubs for his contract.

Think, think again, and then reject. If it’s good enough for Terence…

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