INTERMEDIATE BRIDGE COURSE                                                   





INTERFERING WITH DECLARER:    In previous lessons we have seen how Defenders work together in order to take the maximum number of tricks through promotion, suit establishment, finessing, and trumping.   Other techniques are available to the defenders which, when they work together as a partnership, assist them in preventing declarer from getting tricks to which he/she are not entitled.



1.      The Defensive Holdup:   Declarer often needs to establish tricks in his/her long suit.   Once he/she has established winners in a suit, he/she requires an entry in order to get to them.   Defenders cannot alter the cards declarer has been dealt; but they can try to prevent declarer from using the cards to best advantage.   In each of the following examples, declarer has no other entries to dummy other than the cards in the suit shown.   To limit declarer to the minimum number of tricks, which cards would you and your partner play on the first trick assuming declarer were to lead the 10?   Which cards would you and partner play on the second trick if declarer were to lead a small card to dummy’s Queen?


1)          DUMMY       2)          DUMMY        3)          DUMMY


     73            A42      A42            763        86            K743

          DECLARER               DECLARER                   DECLARER

            1065                    105                       105


1) 7&2; 3&4              2)  2&3; A&6             3)  8&3; 6&K



            Conclusion:   The defensive holdup play is one method the defenders can use in order to prevent

            declarer from getting any undeserved tricks.   Success of operation of this method depends upon

            cooperation between the defenders; i.e., one of them giving count while the other rejects his/her

            winner until declarer is playing his last card in the suit.   If no other outside entries are available

            to declarer, his established additional winners are, thus, stranded.



2.      Attacking Entries:   If, unlike as in exercise 1, declarer holds an outside entry which will eventually serve as transportation to winners that are being developed,  defenders must work together so as to eliminate the outside entry before declarer is ready to use it.  In each of the following, you are on lead.   Which card would you lead to prevent declarer from later using the suit shown as an entry to the dummy?



1)          DUMMY       2)          DUMMY        3)          DUMMY

   PARTNER   A7    YOU     PARTNER   K73   YOU      PARTNER   KQ2   YOU

    1083           KJ42     10984          A62        875           AJ104           

          DECLARER                DECLARER                  DECLARER

           Q965                     QJ5                       963


1)  King                 2)  2 (or 6)             3)  Jack (or 10)



     Conclusion:  When you can see that declarer is planning to develop a long suit and may have

                                  some entry problems, it is often a good idea to drive out any entries in the hand with

                                  the long suit before Declarer has established his/her winners.


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3.      Watching Your Discards:   Small cards in any suit are usually assumed to be of no value.  The

      unwary defender, thus, unthinkingly may tend to throw them away, preferring to hold on to higher

      cards in other suits instead.   Sometimes, however, these, seemingly inconsequential small cards,

      make the difference between success and failure for the defenders.   How do the defenders know

      which suits to guard?   Often it is obvious when you see the cards held in dummy.   In each of the

      following layouts, how many tricks does declarer get if you unwittingly discard a small card in the

      suit shown, and how many does declarer get if you do not?


1)          DUMMY       2)          DUMMY        3)           DUMMY

   PARTNER  AK73   YOU     PARTNER  A972   YOU       PARTNER   KQ4   YOU

     J9           10642       QJ           1063        62          J10953           

          DECLARER                 DECLARER                  DECLARER

            Q85                      K854                       A87


1) 4;3                  2)  4;3               3)  3;3


      Conclusion:   A card as low as a 2 can have as much power as an Ace.   When discarding, try and 

            keep the same length in a suit as you can see in the dummy or as you imagine might be held by

            declarer.  The defending partners must share the responsibility for guarding all of the suits.   You

            never want, as a defender, to be left with high cards in one suit while declarer is taking tricks with

            small cards in another suit in which you have made discards.



4   Defending Against Finesses:    One of the methods by which Declarer gets the extra tricks he/she needs

     is by finessing.   Many times the defenders can do something about this.   In each of the following

     layouts, you are defending against a No Trump contract.  Declarer leads a small card toward Dummy’s

     Jack.   Which card should partner play and which card should you play in order to give declarer the

     most difficulty?


1)          DUMMY       2)          DUMMY        3)            DUMMY


    A943           1062      1087          K63         85              KQ          

          DECLARER                 DECLARER                  DECLARER

             85                       954                      7632


1) 3;2                  2)  7;3               3)  5;Q (OR K)


Conclusion:   Keep declarer guessing as to how to play a suit.   Do not reveal any information that will assist declarer in deciding how to play the cards in a particular suit unless you have to.   The more guesses you give declarer, the more opportunities declarer has to go wrong.















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