Bridge Hand 2

When you gain the lead in a trump contract, your first considerations should be – “Should I draw trump, and how many rounds of trump should I draw?”

Here are some guidelines.

  1. If you are going to lose the lead, e.g., you don’t have the trump ace , examine your hand and dummy to see if you can pitch one or more losers before drawing trump.
  2.  Look to see if you can trump any losers in dummy.
  3. Do you need to use trumps as transportation to develop tricks in other suits?
  4. Can you cross trump without drawing trump at all?

In today’s hand North-South get to a reasonable contract of 4 Spades.  After winning 3 heart tricks, East-West lead a club. Declarer can now count 5 spades, 2 Clubs, and 2 Diamonds for 9 tricks.  Where is the 10th trick coming from?  Declarer looks at dummy and realizes that after he  plays the King and Ace of Diamonds, he can trump a Diamond in dummy for the 10th trick.  So after winning the 4th trick with the ace of clubs, declarer plays the king of Diamonds and a small diamond to the ace.  West now triumphantly trumps the second diamond to defeat the contract.  Declarer’s error?  Yes, he can trump a diamond in dummy – But there is no reason not to draw two – or even three rounds of trump first.  Now he can trump that last diamond in dummy with impunity.  Four spades bid and made.

In the next several columns we will examine various hands in which using the guidelines above are key to achieving good results in trump contracts.

Gil Herod, author of this column, is a retired thoracic surgeon and past president of Indiana Methodist Hospital Medical Staff.
He is a Gold Life Master in bridge, and an experienced bridge teacher, certified by the American Contract Bridge League.