Handling a Trump suit - Facts sheet

  1. Usually draw trumps first, unless :
    1. You want to ruff in Dummy before Dummy's trumps have gone
    2. You need to get rid of losers before drawing trumps
    3. You wish to play a cross ruff or a Dummy reversal

  2. Draw losing trumps only, unless :
    1. Opponent's last trump can cut you off from Dummy's winners
    2. You want to give Opponents the lead (a "throw in")

  3. With a 4-4 trump fit a ruff in either hand will produce an extra trick

  4. With a 5-3 (or 6-2) trump fit only ruffs in the short side (usually Dummy) will produce extra tricks

  5. Cash your sure winners in the side suits first, before starting a cross ruff

  6. When doing a Dummy reversal always ruff high in Declarer's hand and leave a small trump to lead back to Dummy for drawing trumps

DRAWING TRUMPS
In general draw trumps first, but only the losing trumps (unless Defender's outstanding trump can cut you off from Dummy's long suit.)
      With A + K + Q : draw 3 rounds of trumps.
      With A + K only : draw 2 rounds of trumps
      With the A only   : draw 2 rounds, duck 1st, play A 2nd

With the trumps split 4-4 a ruff in either hand will produce an extra trick Declarer
♥ A K 7 3
  Dummy
4 8 9 Q ♥
With the trumps split 5-3 only ruffs in Dummy will produce extra tricks   (but see "Dummy reversal") Declarer
♥ A K 9 6 3
  Dummy
4 10 Q ♥

CROSS RUFF
When both hands are unbalanced
Do not draw trumps, instead cash your sure winners first, then ruff the one suit in Dummy, the other in Declarer's hand

Declarer
♠ A K J 8 3
♥ A 9 4 2
♥ -
♣ A 9 7
  Dummy
7 9 10 Q ♠
6 ♥
4 5 8 J ♦
2 5 10 K ♣

DUMMY REVERSAL
When only Declarer's hand is unbalanced and
Dummy's trumps are high enough to draw trumps.
ruff high in Declarer's hand 3+ times
then lead a small trump to Dummy to draw trumps
Declarer
♠ A K 9 8 3
♥ A 9 4 2
♥ 7
♣ A 9 7
  Dummy
10 J Q ♠
3 5 K ♥
4 5 8 A ♦
2 6 K ♣

© 2014 Michael Furstner