In bridge, a crossruff is a method of scoring tricks by ruffing losers in both declarer's hand and dummy. The following 8-card ending illustrates this concept. South is on lead and spades are trump.

Dummy
T987
5432
--
--
WestEast
65423
AKQTJ8
--AKQJT
----
Declarer
SAKQJ
--
8652
--


If South draws the opponents' trumps by playing his top spades, he will be left with four diamond losers. The better strategy is to "crossruff" the red suit losers. South should ruff a diamond in dummy, then ruff a heart in hand, and repeat the process to collect all 8 tricks.


Example

Dummy
T842
4
WestAKQ4East
Q657432KJ973
QT52K96
32Declarer876
QJ98SAT6
HAJ873
DJT95
CAK5


In this deal, South's contract is 6D. West's opening lead is the CQ.

South has a sure club loser and must do something with all his heart losers. Having avoided a trump opening lead, South can aim to crossruff the major suits. Before starting, however, he cashes the CK. This is important in case the opponents discard clubs during the crossruff, and can threaten to ruff the CK later.

At trick 3, South plunks down the SA, the HA and ruffs a heart in dummy. Next comes a spade ruff in hand, followed by another heart ruff. Another spade is ruffed by declarer. The layout is now:

Dummy
T
--
WestAKEast
--74KJ
Q--
32Declarer876
J9S----
HJ8
DJT
C5


Now South can ruff two hearts in dummy and and score two trump tricks in hand. He loses just one club trick in the end.

If South hadn't cashed the CK early on, however, the situation would be:

Dummy
T
--
WestAKEast
--743KJ
Q--
32Declarer876
J98S--T
HJ8
DJT
CA5


When South ruffs a heart in dummy, East discards a club. Now South must lose two club tricks - East will ruff the CA, and West will still get a club winner for down one.

See also

  • Coup En Passant
    A trump trick scored by ruffing a card "behind" a defender who holds a higher trump.

  • Dummy Reversal
    A strategy in which declarer's long trumps are used for ruffing losers, and dummy's short trumps are used for drawing the opponents' trumps.

  • Ruff and Sluff
    A play in which declarer ruffs a card in one hand while discarding a loser from the other.

  • Ruffing Finesse
    A finesse of an enemy card (usually an honor) by threat of a ruff.

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