George Harrison said, “If I write a tune, and people think it’s nice, then that’s fine by me. But I hate having to compete and promote the thing. I really don’t like promotion.”
Bridge defenders love trump promotion, turning a low trump into a winner. How does one occur in this deal?
After East opened one heart, South stretched to bid four spades. But he had the vulnerability in his favor, and he knew that many experts recommend bidding game immediately with 7-4-1-1 distribution.
West led his singleton heart. Declarer won with dummy’s ace and played the spade jack. East took the trick, perforce, then led the heart nine (his lowest high heart being a suit-preference signal for clubs).
If South could have drawn trumps, he would have lost only two trump tricks, one to East’s ace and one to West’s 10. But now he was in danger of losing three spade tricks. Suppose declarer ruffs the heart nine with his spade nine. West overruffs with the 10 and puts his partner back on lead with the club ace. Then another heart promotes West’s spade eight as a winner.
South cannot afford to give his opponent two promotions. At trick three, declarer should not ruff East’s heart 10; instead, he should discard his singleton club. This cuts the communication line between the defenders.
Yes, West gets an overruff at trick four, but South trumps West’s club shift, removes his remaining spades and claims.
Watch out for a loser-on-loser play to promote your trick total.