INTERMEDIATE BRIDGE COURSE                                                   





Managing The Trump Suit - When playing in a suit contract, Declarer’s most important task is the management of the trump suit.  The trump cards are all powerful and give both the defenders and the declarer control of the opponent’s long suits.  The trump suit, in many respects, is like any other suit; i.e., winners can be developed through promotion, length or finessing.   As declarer, if you decide to draw all of the missing trumps, how would you proceed with each of the following trump suits (With High Cards, Promotion, Length, Finesse), how many times would you have to draw trumps so as to take out all of the missing cards assuming an expected division of those outstanding, and how many losers would you anticipate?




   DUMMY:       KQ6           J985          A95          QJ10          K963

  DECLARER:     AJ9542        Q1074         87642        A9876         A752


   METHOD:    High Cards    Promotion      Length       Finesse       Length


 # LOSERS:        0             2             2            0             1


 # ROUNDS:     3 (3-1)       3 (3-2)       3 (3-2)       3 (3-2)       3 (3-2)


Conclusion:  When drawing trumps, winners can be established through promotion, length and the finesse.  Keep track of the trumps, and draw only enough rounds to eliminate any outstanding pieces.



1.      Looking At Quick Losers And Slow Losers:  - Before deciding whether or not to draw trumps immediately, declarer must first determine how many quick losers and how many slow losers are present.    Remember, a quick loser is one that the opponents can take immediately as soon as they secure the lead, and a slow loser is one they cannot take unless and until they give the lead back to you.    In the following holdings, how many quick and slow losers would declarer have in a final contract of 4-Spades?




                    DUMMY                  DUMMY                  DUMMY

                  AQ86                    Q1082                  J964

                  A95                     AK3                    A84

                  742                     J8                     AQ3

                  K54                     KQJ5                   Q74


                    DECLARER               DECLARER               DECLARER

                  KJ754                   KJ976                  Q10873

                  1083                    984                    762

                  Q                       Q10                    K5

                  AQJ2                    A82                    AK8


Quick Losers:        1                      3                      2


Slow Losers:         2                      1                      2










                                                                                                                                                                     - 14 -


2. Drawing Trumps Immediately - Yes or No:  Deciding whether or not to draw trumps immediately, involves three considerations:

a.      Whether or not trumps are needed for some other purposes.  Example:  If declarer is planning to trump losers in dummy, he/she cannot afford to leave fewer trumps in dummy than is required to ruff losers.

b.      Whether or not declare must give up the lead to the opponents while drawing trump.

c.      Whether too many quick losers exist such that the lead cannot afford to be relinquished until the number of quick losers is first reduced.




In the following examples, the Q-Hearts has been led against your final contract of 4-Spades.  In each case, will declarer have to lose the lead in order to draw trumps, should drawing trumps be the first priority, if not, why?


                      DUMMY                  DUMMY                  DUMMY

                     AQ86                   Q1082                  J964

                     A95                    AK3                    A84

                     742                    J8                     AQ3

                     K54                    KQJ5                   Q74


                      DECLARER               DECLARER               DECLARER

                     KJ754                  KJ976                  Q10873

                     1083                   984                    762

                     Q                      Q10                    K5

                     AQJ2                   A82                    AK8


Draw Trumps?:          Yes                     Yes                    No


Reason:            Only 3 Losers          One Loser is Slow       Quick Losers


Conclusion:  It is difficult to draw hard and fast rules as to when to draw trumps, and in some minor cases, even if to draw them at all.   One must plan carefully.   Are trumps needed for more pressing purposes?   Must the lead be forfeited if trumps were to be drawn immediately, and if so, are too many quick losers present to be able to give up the lead?


3. Side Suit Establishment:  In a No Trump contract, in order to establish a particular suit, one sometimes needs to give up a trick or two to the opponents in that suit depending upon the number of outstanding cards held by the defenders and the distribution of same.   In a suit contract, however, such a side suit can be established without losing the lead simply by utilizing the trump suit.   In the following examples, how would you expect the missing cards to be divided in the side suits shown, and how many trumps would declarer need to establish the suit assuming the missing cards were to be divided as expected?




    DUMMY:       AK864          AK964          A97632          AK9842          AQ742

   DECLARER:     32             2              5               53              K5


   DIVISION:      4-2            4-3            4-2             3-2             4-2       


TRUMPS REQUIRED:   2              2              3               1               1


Conclusion:  Trump cards work well to establish a side suit thereby establishing winners without giving up the lead to the opponents.






                                                                                                                                                                       - 15 -