Book a Course

View all the latest courses going on at the bridge club and book yours now...
View Courses View Playing Schedule

To Draw (trumps), or not?

To draw (trumps), or not to draw, that is the question. I have heard people say, “I always draw trumps”. I’m afraid that’s plain wrong, for there are many occasions where delaying the process is essential. However there has to be a reason to postpone, because there are two huge advantages to getting rid of the opposing trumps:

(1) They cannot ruff your winners.
(2) You draw two of their trumps per trick.
Both these points come to the fore on this illustrative example (I confess slightly contrived for effect).

South Deals
None Vul
A Q 9 6
8 7 5 3
J 7
A K 5
8 4
A Q 10
10 5 2
J 10 9 4 2
N
W E
S
10 7 5 2
K J
9 8 6 4 3
8 6
K J 3
9 6 4 2
A K Q
Q 7 3
West North East South
      1 1
Pass 4 2 All pass  
  1. Planning to rebid notrumps but...
  2. The simple approach, holding a heart fit and the values for game.

What happened
Doubtless wishing he was declaring 3 NT, declarer won J lead, and was (understandably) frightened to play trumps, missing the five top cards. Instead he started playing out his top tricks. He began with AKQ all following, then followed with his two remaining top clubs.

No good. East ruffed the third club (with J) and now the contract had to fail (West holding three certain trump tricks). Worse was to follow, however, thanks to some accurate defence. East led a fourth diamond, West ruffing with 10, then West led a fourth club. East ruffed with K, and, with West still holding AQ, declarer had gone down two, losing all five trumps.

What should have happened
Declarer lost all five trumps separately. Lead trumps yourself (as declarer), and you draw two high trumps per trick. Provided the suit splits 3-2 (as it rates to), you will merely lose three trump tricks.

Win the club lead, and play a trump. The defence win and (say) play a second club. You win, and lead a second trump. With both opponents following twice, you can win any return, and now play out your winners, letting the opponents make their one remaining high trump whenever they please (the Rule of One). 10 tricks and game made.

If you remember one thing...
Drawing the opposing trumps has the advantage of removing two of their trumps per trick, particularly important if their trumps are high.

ARBC: 31 Parsons Green Lane, London SW6 4HH
Call NOW: 0207 471 4626