The declarer ducked the dink

October 28, 1963

I am not sure how the word "dink" came to mean what it does in bridge and, after tracking it down in Webster's Unabridged, the best I can do is offer a wild theory. A dinking die is described as a cutting punch. In bridge, punching means to shorten a player's trumps by forcing him to ruff. Dinking has the same meaning.

At any rate, dinking the declarer is a standard method of defense. If declarer can be forced to trump often enough, he may lose the mastery of the trump suit and be decisively defeated. Usually the defender's efforts are aimed at shortening the long trump hand. Giving declarer ruffs in the shorter hand seldom hurts him and will, in fact, usually help him more than it helps the defenders. But there are exceptions to every rule, and the deal shown below is one of them.

When North bid only two diamonds in response to South's takeout double, it was something of an underbid. Consequently, when South showed a five-card spade suit in a good hand, North corrected his earlier conservatism by jumping to game.

East overtook his partner's jack of hearts in order to continue the suit. It is proper to follow with the highest remaining card in partner's suit, so when West played the 2 on the second heart lead, East knew the heart situation. He correctly decided that his best chance was to cut down declarer's prospects of establishing dummy's diamond suit, and he led another high heart.

West discarded the 2 of diamonds. It was tempting for declarer to ruff this in dummy, but he saw what would happen if he allowed dummy to be dinked, and he made the excellent play of discarding one of dummy's clubs.

Let's stop for a moment and see what would have happened if dummy had ruffed the third heart. South could come to his hand with the ace of diamonds and get back to dummy with a trump. But if he attempted to cash dummy's high diamonds and discard losing clubs, West would trump the third round of diamonds and lead his last trump. The diamond suit would not yet be established, and South would remain with a club loser. Nor would it help declarer if he played two rounds of trumps before leading out the good diamonds.

But when South refused to allow the dummy's trump holdings to be shortened, the defenders were helpless. East did the best he could by leading still another round of hearts, giving West a second diamond discard when declarer ruffed high. But South then cashed the diamond ace, took another high spade and led a second trump to dummy's 10. Next he led a low diamond from dummy, trumped it high and returned to dummy with a third round of trumps, at the same time drawing West's remaining spade. The king and queen of diamonds dropped the outstanding cards in that suit, and dummy's remaining diamond produced the 10th trick.

If East had shifted to his singleton club after winning two heart tricks, it would have been much easier for declarer. Against the defense thrown at him, however, it was necessary to refuse the ruff in order to preserve a trump entry.

EXTRA TRICK
"A trick is a trick" is a dangerous bridge philosophy. The value of a trick may vary greatly according to when you win it.

ILLUSTRATION

Both sides vulnerable East dealer

NORTH

[Queen of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[8 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[7 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]

WEST

[9 of Spades]
[8 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[Jack of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[8 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

[Ace of Spades]
[King of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[9 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]

EAST

[4 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[King of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

EAST

1 [Heart]
PASS
PASS

SOUTH

DOUBLE
2 [Spade]
PASS

WEST

PASS
PASS
PASS

NORTH

2 [Diamond]
4 [Spade]

Opening lead: jack of hearts

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)