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To Draw or Not to Draw – with Curt Soloff

Included lessons:

  1. Counting Losers & Finding Clues
  2. Trump Management, Part 1
  3. Trump Management, Part 2
  4. The Full Crossruff

We have plenty of rules to guide our bidding, but when it comes to declaring a suit contract, there is no plug-and-play formula.

I often see new players fail to draw trumps, only to have precious winners ruffed out by the defense; in contrast, I also routinely observe players drawing all trumps right away, only to be stuck later with costly losers in their hand that could have been ruffed.  Ultimately, each hand you play is its own unique case, calling for a different approach.

My aim in this four-lesson course is to give you a better grasp of how to manage your trumps when playing suit contracts.  As the dummy comes down and you plan your play at trick one, what factors should you consider?  Should you draw trumps immediately, partially, or not at all?  We will look at myriad examples to help you recognize which approach to the play you should deploy to make your contracts and take as many tricks as you can.

Thank you for being part of the class!

Counting Losers & Finding Clues Trump Management, Part 1 Trump Management, Part 2 The Full Crossruff

Lesson 1

We begin with the fundamental approach to playing suit contracts: counting sure and potential losers and assessing how we might make losers go away.  We will also consider the full auction and how our approach changes when we have little information (opponents did not bid) versus scenarios in which the opponents open, overcall, double, preempt, or otherwise provide clues that can assist our play.

Lesson 2

On many hands, it is appropriate to draw all trumps immediately, and we will discuss criteria for when this is the proper approach.  We will also consider situations where we might draw most of the trumps but leave one outstanding, which frequently depends on the quality of our trump suit and whether it is splitting favorably for us.

Lesson 3

Sometimes we must delay the drawing of trumps because we have important work to do, often getting losers ruffed in the dummy.  On other hands, the opening lead presents a perilous situation in which we must eliminate losers before attacking the trump suit.  Along the way, we will look at the necessity of managing limited dummy entries carefully.

Lesson 4

At times, we may never draw trump at all and are grateful that the defense did not make the opening lead of a trump.  Hence, we will look at hand types in which a full crossruff produces the maximum number of tricks and determine when this line of play is most appropriate.

About Curt Soloff

Curt brings more than 27 years of competitive duplicate bridge experience to the table.  A Sapphire Life Master who provides professional bridge teaching services in Colorado and online to students around the globe, Curt previously served as the manager of the Castle Rock Bridge Club from 2009 until 2020.  He was a columnist for the District 17 Scorecard and his playing career includes numerous regional and sectional tournament event victories.

He was the first recipient of the Denver Unit’s Jan Janitschke Award in 2020 for outstanding teaching and mentoring.