To draw trumps from your opponents’ hands in a game of bridge, play your higher trumps early on in the hand. Drawing trumps allows you to take your winning tricks in peace, without fear of your opponents trumping them. Because your opponents must follow suit when you lead a trump, you can remove their lower trumps before you take your sure tricks.

Drawing trumps is just like playing any suit — you have to count the cards in the suit to know if you have successfully drawn all your opponents’ trump cards.

In the hand shown in this image, you and your partner start life with nine spades between you, leaving only four spades that your opponents can possibly hold:

1. Suppose that you play the ♠A.

Both opponents must follow suit and play one of their spades. You win the trick, and you know that your opponents have only two spades left.

2. Suppose that you continue with the ♠K, and both opponents follow.

Now they have no spades left (no more trump cards). You have drawn trumps. See? That wasn’t so bad.

This image shows the full hand for the preceding image.

West begins with the ♥AKQ, and you trump the third heart with your ♠2:

1. After you trump the third heart, you draw trumps by playing the ♠AK.

2. You can then safely take your AKQ and your ♦AKQ — you wind up losing only two heart tricks.

You needed to take 10 tricks to fulfill your contract, and you in fact finished up with 11 tricks. Pretty good!