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Bridge Venue

Example Deal

«  1312  »

Draw trumps first unless you have a good reason not to

After counting your losers, the main questions to ask yourself as you plan are:

  1. To draw trumps immediately or not?
  2. Where do I need the lead at trick 2?
  3. How to draw the trump suit, in view of
    1. gaps
    2. distribution
  4. Where are entries needed?
  5. Could I be blocked ?

Draw trumps or not?

It's usually best to draw trumps at the first opportunity, unless there's an outside shortage in the short trump hand that can be exploited. The two conditions for exploitation are

  • greater length in this suit in the other hand
  • there are some losers to trump after you've voided the short hand

That said, even with exploitable shortage, it may be best to draw trumps first if you have sufficient trumps both to draw the opponents cards and then ruff the losers. That way you run fewer risks (of being over-ruffed, or opponents playing another suit).

Drawing trumps

With no exploitable shortage, draw trumps at the first opportunity, otherwise they'll use their trumps against you. This applies even if your trumps are very weak. E.g. J10987 - 654, by drawing trumps you limit yourself to 3 trump losers. By failing to draw trumps the outstanding 3 and 2 can become winners too.

No Gaps

  • lead high from the short hand, to stay on lead from the short hand and avoid getting blocked


  • lead high from weak to strong, to play the finesse, or the sandwich finesse.

When finessing
Lead up to the lowest honour in the strong hand (includes the 10).


Entries are needed in 4 situations:

  1. for crossing to own hand to play trumps,
  2. to reach winners in either hand,
  3. crossing to make a finesse,
  4. getting to your hand to ruff in dummy.

Preserve your entries for these situations.

  • To avoid getting blocked, play Highest from Shortest.
  • With a long suit in a weak dummy, duck a round or two to preserve entries

Count how many entries you need:

Vacant spaces, restricted choice

When two honours are missing, if one shows up in one enemy hand, it's a 2/3 chance that the other one is in the other hand.
The bidding might of course inform you otherwise.


Don't throw away from 4-card suits


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