The most common question that bridge experts are asked is when you should draw trumps when playing a suit contract. It is quite a difficult question, but we can simplify it by pointing out that about 25-40 percent of experts will lead a trump at the first opportunity.
Facing an opening lead of ♣Q, South was careful to win in the dummy. If somebody had a singleton club, it was likely to be East, and it was important not to give him the opportunity to ruff an honor.
To draw even one round of trumps would have been foolish, futile and fatal.
South’s first move was to lead a diamond, cutting the defender’s communication and establishing her own. West won and led the ♣J for East to ruff. The return of a trump revealed a bad break, and South realized that she had to develop a heart trick. She cashed the ♥A, ruffed a diamond and ruffed out the ♥K.
Another diamond was ruffed and the heart winner was cashed. There were still three high trumps that could cross-ruff for a total of 10 tricks. Notice that it would not have helped East to discard on the second club lead rather than ruff a loser. That would often be good play, but here it would make it possible for South to make all 12 tricks. After establishing and cashing a heart trick in the same time fashion, she would have cross-ruffed at the finish.
By Sung Kyung-hae
Sung Kyung-hae is a board member of Korea Contract Bridge League, and captain of the Korean national ladies’ team. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org