Should I Draw All The Trumps?

Once declarer gets on lead it’s he or she will usually want to draw all the trumps – it often feels like the right thing to do.  But is it?  Would you be better to leave some trumps outstanding?

Suppose declarer and dummy hold the following cards in trumps:

When to draw trumps

Once declarer doe gets on lead, the usual play  will be A & K hoping that trumps have broken 2-2 between the defenders and that all the trumps will be drawn in two round.

Statistics tell us a different story.  It is more likely that trumps will break 3-1 than 2-2.  If this turns out to be the case, drawing 2 rounds of trumps with A & K will leave the Q still in one of the opponents’ hand.

Now what do you do.  Is it best to play a third round of trumps, knowing that the outstanding trump is a winner?  The answer is no.  You might do better if change to playing one of the side suits.  Why?  Because there is the possibility that declarer can use both remaining trumps for ruffing or setting up a discard.

Sooner or later the opponents will win a trick with their outstanding trump winner, but declarer may have been able to make better use of their remaining trumps.