Quick summary

In a Suit contract


and then. . .


and then. . .



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Bridge Venue

Example Deal

«  1300  »

Start with a quick plan - Suit contracts

To Draw or not to draw?

Your first decision has to be: To draw trumps immediately, or not?

If you have no shortage in some suit or another in the short trump hand (often the dummy), then DRAW TRUMPS IMMEDIATELY. This is true even if you are missing AKQ of trumps. Without a shortage you can't ruff. But if you don't draw your opponents' trumps that's exactly what they might do to you. By shortage, I mean void, singleton or doubleton.

It's no good ruffing in the long hand, since these trumps would have won eventually anyway. All you are doing is using your trumps without consuming the enemy's.

SWOT - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunties, Threats

Strengths - Count your winners?

Unlike a NoTrump contract, it's usually easiest to count your losing tricks, and to count them by reference to the long suited trump hand. This is not always the case, and sometimes it helps to count both (if your brain works fast, otherwise the enemy might start barracking you for being so slow, but frankly they'd be better off using the time to plan your downfall, or they'll be the losers!).

Weaknesses - Count your losers

So, start your planning by counting how many tricks you're going to lose, and thus how many extra ones you're going to have to find by various devices, which you might refer to as Opportunities:


Look at your hand to see where you might have a chance to make up the extra tricks. Ruffing, extra tricks in the long suits, throwing a loser on a loser, squeeze, finesse, and so on. For example:

Deal 1S 7 6 4  

You have 5 losers in your hand
(2S, 1S, 2D).
There's no way you can avoid losing the Spades and the Hearts. You'll have to get rid of the two Club losers by ruffing them in the short hand (dummy).

S Q 9 5 3 2
H A 7 3
D 8 7
S K           N S  
H   4D Lead KS H  
D   D  
C             S C  
    S A 10  
S 8 6
H K Q J 10 9
D A K 9 3

Read about when to draw trumps.


Having formed a plan, look for places where it could go wrong. Could the trump split be unfavourable? Do you have all the entries you need? Could you be blocked? If a finesse should fail, will you end up losing the lead to the wrong player? Might you end up losing trump control? Can you avoid ruffing in the long hand? Is there a back-up plan if any of these catastrophes should befall you?

For example, in the deal above, if the diamond8 is with East and East also runs out of Clubs after two rounds, your ruffing plan will fail.

Use the Playing pages to find out more about how to plan your play. For example:







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