How to Divide Trump Suits in Bridge
Depending on how the trump cards are divided in a hand of bridge, you approach the game in different ways. Keep in mind that if you have eight or more cards in a suit between your hand and the dummy, particularly in a major suit (either hearts or spades), you try to make that suit your trump suit.
An eight-card fit (eight cards in a single suit between your hand and the dummy) gives you a safety net because you have many more trumps than your opponents: Your trumps outnumber theirs by eight to five. Having more trumps than your opponents is always to your advantage. You may be able to survive a seven-card trump fit, but having an eight- or nine-card trump fit relieves tension. The more trumps you have, the more tricks you can generate, and the less chance your opponents have of taking tricks with their trumps. You can never have too many trumps!
A bridge four-four trump fit
During the bidding, you may discover that you have an eight-card fit divided four-four between the two hands. Try to make such a fit your trump suit. A four-four trump fit almost always produces at least one more trick in the play of the hand, as opposed to notrump.
At a notrump contract, the four-four fit in this image takes four tricks. At notrump, when each partner has four cards in the same suit, four tricks is your max.
However, when spades is your trump suit, you can do better. Suppose that your opponents lead a suit that you don’t have:
You can trump their lead with the ♠3.
Take four more spade tricks by playing the ♠A and the ♠K from your hand (high honors from the short side first), and then playing the ♠4 over to the ♠J and ♠Q from the dummy.
You wind up taking a total of five spade tricks — the card you trumped plus four more high spades.
A four-four trump fit is primo. You can get more for your money from this trump fit. Every so often, you can take six (or more) trump tricks when you have a four-four trump fit! Make keeping your eyes open for four-four trump fits a habit.
Other bridge trump fits
Eight-card trump fits can come in different guises. Consider the eight-card trump fits in this image.
This image shows examples of a 5-3 fit, a 6-2 fit, and a 7-1 fit. Good bidding uncovers eight-card (or longer) fits, which makes for safe trump suits. There’s joy in numbers.