Trump Promotion #001 – A trump promotion is the defensive strategy of creating a trump trick (or tricks) by forcing the premature use of a trump card. One of the cardplay techniques (coup) of achieving a trump promotion is to make a trump trick by position in passing (en passant) playing behind the opponent who needs to trump.
This deal was played by Eileen Griffin with Fred Ferguson September 3, 2014 / Hilton Head BC.
This contract is very reasonable North/South have combined 24 hcp (26 shortage points). Of the 12 times this deal was played it was played in 4 ♠ - 10 times and in 3 NT - 2 times (go figure).
The opening lead by West is the ♣ A and East gives an encouraging signal with the ♣ 6. West follows with the ♣ 3 to East's ♣ Q. East returns the ♣ 4 ... how should Eileen (South) play this deal?
Eileen (South) is now in passing position (en passant). If Eileen relies on winning the ♣ J in dummy or ruffs low West is in a position to win a trump trick cheaply. If Eileen, on the other hand, trumps high then West might get a trump promotion, subsequently winning a trick with a trump card that otherwise would not win a trick.
But, one of the ways of spoiling a trump promotion is to put a loser on a loser ... so when East leads the ♣ 4, Eileen smartly pitches the ♦ 2, a losing trick. Now the coup (cardplay technique) is broken. West has to trump to protect against dummy winning a cheap trick with a trump card that would have, in fact, won a natural trump trick. East/West are entitled to win 2-spade tricks, either naturally or via ruffing. By pitching a losing diamond on the club ruff Eileen collapses her losers (turning 2-losers into 1-loser.) East/West eventually wins 1 natural spade + 1 club ruff + 2 natural clubs, but never gets to win a diamond trick for down one (-1). North/South's score is 8.5 matchpoints (77%) on this deal - this deal went down two (-2) six times.
Well done Eileen.