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0009 - Seeing the Trump Promotion

Trump Promotion #002 – This deal is 2 of 3 (2/3) on the card play technique of trump promotion by position – playing behind an opponent who must trump to win the trick. This deal focuses on seeing the trump promotion position. As defender if you cannot see the trump promotion, you will not be able to employ the technique, and as declarer if you cannot see the trump promotion, you will not be able to plan for the contingency.

This deal (rotated) was played September 4, 2014 / Hilton Head BC.


South is in a 4  contract where North/South have combined 27 hcp (29 shortage points). 

After an opening lead of the  4, South plays 3-rounds of diamonds (T1, T2 and T3) pitching a club on the third diamond trick to avoid the possibility of 2-club losers. Can you see the trump promotion position?

On T5 - a club to the  A and on T6 - exits a club so as to trump South's last club in dummy. Everything looks good so far ... or maybe not?


So here is the trump promotion position after 6-rounds have been played.

East is on lead holding the last diamonds ... if East leads the  J, South is now in passing position (en passant) subject to a trump promotion for West. If South trumps low depending on the  6 in dummy to win the trick, West can win the  7, the  K (2-spade tricks) and exit a spade and South still has a club to lose. If South trumps high with either of the  1098, West pitches the  9 and now West holding  K73 and sitting behind South, still wins 2-spade tricks, and North/South can be tapped in spades and still go down one. 

Trump promotion typically happens when the defender (short in trumps) is on lead through an opponent and the defender (long in trumps) is playing behind and both are void in the suit being lead. This causes the opponent to prematurely play a high trump causing a trump promotion.

How could declarer plan for this contingency? Declarer holds the first round control in clubs (♣ A) and need not rush into the strategy of cashing 3-diamond tricks (busy work) – this strategy exposes South to the trump promotion. South has other options such as finding out if hearts break 3-3 setting up pitches on hearts or taking one finesse in clubs, in any event declarer needs the  K in dummy as an entry. 

To obtain a printable PDF file of this post click here " 20140905 0009

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