INTERMEDIATE BRIDGE COURSE†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
†DEFENSIVE PLAY OF THE HAND
MAKING A PLAN - Defenderís plan is similar in structure to Declarerís plan.†† The same four steps of: (1) Pausing to consider oneís objective, (2) Looking at winners and losers, (3) Analyzing alternatives, and (4) Now putting it together, (PLAN) all apply.††
(1) Defenderís Objectives:† Obviously, to take enough tricks in order to defeat the contract, or at least to limit Declarer to the minimum number of tricks; i.e., the fewest overtricks.
(2) Looking at Winners and Losers:† Since the defenders cannot see each others hands and thus do not have an exact knowledge of the combined holdings of the defense, the exact number of winners and losers is difficult to assess.†† They can, however, start by making an estimate and then revise it as more information is gleaned.†† Remember, Aces in suits other than trump can, sometimes, not take a trick.
(3) Analyzing Alternatives:† Here the defense must use its collective imagination.† Oft times they will have to visualize the possible layout of the suits to see opportunities to develop tricks through promotion, finesse, etc.†† As the play progresses, alternatives for the defenders should become clearer.
(4) Putting It All Together:† Here the defending team must learn to work together to insure that they are both headed in the same direction.†† While the defenderís initial plans may differ, they should eventually merge into a common pathway as the hand is played out.†† The defenders must be more flexible than declarer.† They must be prepared to change their collective plans as the play progresses and more information is shared between them.
1. Before the Dummy Comes Down:† Having little to go on, other than the bidding just concluded and the thirteen cards held, the defender on lead must make some preliminary assessment as to where tricks might eventually come from and then make the best initial estimate as to the best lead.†
††††††† Exercise 1:† You (West) are on lead††††††††††† YOU†††† 2C/2H/P
†††††††††††††††† against a 4H contract††††††††††† P/P/P†††††††††††††††† P/P/P†††††††††††††
†††††††††††††††† with the bidding having†††††††††††††††††† 1H/2D/4H†††
†††††††††††††††† proceeded as shown.††
†††††††††† 10983†††††††† You are not exactly sure where your tricks will come††††††††††††††††
†††††††††††††††††††††† K5†††††††† from. Your KH will win a trick if declarer holds the A.
†††††††††† AQ3††††††† Since declarer has bid diamonds, you hope the K is held
†††††††††† J642†††††† by declarer and either partner will eventually be on
††††††††††††††††††††† lead so to trap the King or perhaps declarer will take
the losing finesse. Your best lead, therefore, is to lead the 10S in†
hopes of either developing a Spade trick, or at the very least, of not
giving a trick away.†
Conclusion:†† Although your plan may be very rough until you have seen the dummy, it is still
worthwhile developing an interim plan by beginning to form a picture of the missing hands in an
effort to avoid stepping off in the wrong direction with the opening lead.†† The details of the best
defense will likely come from seeing the dummy coupled with partnerís signals.†† At least you will
be starting on a sound basis.
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2. After Dummy Comes Down:†† Once the dummy has been tabled, and partner has played to the first
††††† trick, the defenders now have additional information on which to base their collective plan.†† There
††††† will likely still be some unknowns, and the defense must be alert so as to be prepared and flexible
††††† enough to modify its plan, but as the play progresses, the individual presumed plans of the two
††††† defenders must merge into a single unified collectively orchestrated strategy.
††††††††† Exercise 2:† You (East) hold the††††††††††††††††††††† 1D/1NT/P
†††††††††††††††† following against a 4S†††††††††††††† P/P††††††††††† P/P/P†††††††††††††
†††††††††††††††† contract with the bidding††††††††††††††††† 1S/4S†† †
†††††††††††††††† as shown. Partner leads the 2H.
††††††††††††† †DUMMY†††††††††††††††††††††† You would plan the defense as
††††††††††††††† K5†††††††††††††††††††††† follows. Partner has led the KH from
††††††††††††††† 1075††††††††††† YOU††††† a presumed KQ??? holding.† Desirous†††
††††††††††††††† KQJ7††††††††††† 842††††† of a diamond lead you would overtake††††
††††††††††††††† AJ73††††††††††† A964†††† partnerís K with the A, play your
†††††† KH†††††††††††††††††††††† A††††††† singleton AD then return to partnerís
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 108652†† QH awaiting partner to give you a†
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ruff by returning a diamond for you†††††††††††
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† to trump.
†††† Conclusion:†† After dummy appears and partner plays, more information is available to the†
††††††††† defenders.†† Be sure to look at the whole picture before automatically following any preconceived
††††††††† guideline such as automatically returning your partnerís lead.