Play Basics: Drawing Trump

By Kitty and Steve Cooper

When we first learned bridge, the adage “get the kiddies off the street” was used to remind us to draw the opponents’ trumps. We have noticed that total beginners do not like to draw trumps when they have a very weak suit. While that can be the correct strategy when you plan a cross ruff or are in a silly contract like a four-two fit with no honors, most of the time you have the trump length and do not want your opponents to score their trump tricks separately. Here is an example of a hand misplayed in four spades by a beginner.

                      S 87532

                         H AKJ109

                         D 104

                         C 8

S K10                                         S AQ

H 7543                                       H 62

D 982                                         D A753

C J1052                                     C KQ643

                              S J964

                         H Q8

                         D KQJ6

                         C A97


The contract was 4S in the nine card fit. There is only one loser outside of the trump suit, the Ace of Diamonds, so if spades are split two-two then the contract can be made by playing trump at every opportunity, making the opponents’ four spade honors fall on each other. Alas, declarer ruffed clubs and played heart winners until RHO ruffed with a high trump, thus giving his side three trump tricks instead of two, and down he went.

So when is it right NOT to draw trump immediately? When you need to take discards first or to take some ruffs in dummy. Change the above hand ever so slightly and now it is correct to delay drawing trump after a club lead in order to discard the club loser. Which hand’s winners do you play?


S 87532


D A4

C 98



S J964

H Q6


C A97


Right, there is only one club loser in dummy so play three rounds of diamonds to pitch that club from dummy then play trump.

As for delaying drawing trump in order to cross ruff see our August 2016 column on the cross ruff or read it on this site.



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