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Sharpen your Defence – 8 Lessons

OPENING LEADS are the “FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE”
The simplest way not to miss a post!
 CLICK “FOLLOW” then you will get an e-mail when each instalment is posted.   IT’S THAT SIMPLE!
There will be SEVEN more posts on Defense over the next few months.
OPENING LEADS VS NO TRUMP CONTRACTS BY OPPONENT
Opening leads are the most important part of defense and one of the most challenging.
On most hands, however, a useful lead can be found by:
– listening carefully to the bidding
– finding clues in the auction
It is my plan to give you basic info to keep the guesswork to a minimum and to find strategies to find the best possible and often the killer lead.  Keep in mind once Dummy appears, you will have more info available and your initial strategy may need revision.
It is very gratifying to defeat the contract by getting off to the best defense.  As these defense strategies are posted, make time with your bridge partner or group, to discuss and implement them.
Send the website address (www.thebridgeguru.com) to your friends so they can ‘FOLLOW’!
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A WISE OLD OWL ONCE SAID:
When your partner has BID a suit and you are defending, you should lead partner’s suit unless you clearly have a much better alternative.  Also if your partner has LED a suit, you should RETURN PARTNER’S SUIT WHEN YOU GET A CHANCE, unless you have something clearly better to do and don’t mind looking for a new partner🤣

DEFENDING AGAINST A NO-TRUMP CONTRACT

1.  If partner has bid a suit lead it;  

WHICH CARD?

– top card of a DOUBLETON (eg. 9 7 – lead the 9)—(Q 5 lead Q)
– top of touching honours (E.g., Q, J, 10 4) lead the Q, followed by J, then the 10 etc.)
– no sequence in P’s suit lead low – 4th from longest & strongest

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2.  If Partner did not bid vs no trump contract :

lead “top of touching honours” from a 4 card suit or longer suit in your hand.

There are three types of sequences as follows:

A- Regular sequence:

Q J 10 x — always & forever (I promise) lead the “TOP CARD – the Queen!!!  Now partner knows you have 3 high cards that touch —the Queen followed by the Jack and ten and maybe a couple of small cards!!!

Guideline:  With a “REGULAR SEQUENCE” always lead the TOP OF TOUCHING!

B- Broken Sequence

Q J 9 x x – two “touching high cards that touch with a break” —-notice if you lead the “9” – declarer can win the first trick with the 10!!!!!!!

Guideline:  With a “BROKEN SEQUENCE” treat as if it were a “regular sequence” and lead the HIGHEST CARD—the queen from Q J 9 —the TOP OF TOUCHING!

C-Interior Sequence 

K J 10 x x – a sequence of two or more cards that touch  the “J 10” with a “higher-ranking” card in the suit!

If you led the King, Declarer could win the Ace and still hold the Queen!

Guideline:  With an ‘INTERIOR SEQUENCE”  (K J 10 X X) lead the TOP of the touching honours”—lead the J!

3.  With no sequence:

lead 4th from longest and strongest (with a choice of suits lead the stronger or the unbid suit)

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Defence Part 3 of 5

PART 3 OF 5 – PRIMARY LINES OF DEFENSE

3. REMAIN PASSIVE WHEN YOUR TRICKS ARE SAFE

Last blog was about GOING ACTIVE –
Some conditions dictate the opposite approach which is remaining passive. When these conditions exist, the main idea is to relax and not grab your winners, not “break a new suit” for declarer or otherwise take him off the guess. You just sit back and wait for your tricks!

6 CONDITIONS FOR REMAINING PASSIVE

1. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF A STRONG SIDE SUIT FOR DECLARER
2. DECLARER IS VERY STRONG AND DUMMY IS WEAK
3. THERE IS A BAD SPLIT IN KEY SUITS
4. THERE IS NO REAL SUIT TO LEAD AGAINST NO TRUMP
5. WHEN DEFENDING 6NT AND GRAND SLAMS
6. THE DUMMY IS FLAT AND WEAK

The basic condition for going passive is the absence of any outside source of tricks on which declarer can get rid of her losers.

How do you figure that out?
– From the bidding
– From your cards
– ‘Later’ from dummy’s cards YOU SEE that
– (a) no side suit exists
– (B) if a side suit exists, it is breaking badly
– (C) there is no entry to the side suit

SO LEAD A SUIT THAT DOESN”T GIVE DECLARER A FREE TRICK

UNDER THESE CONDITIONS, THE GOOD DEFENDER MAKES A PASSIVE LEAD
AND SITS BACK WAITING FOR HIS TRICKS!!!!!

THE GOOD DEFENDER WILL SIMPLY RETURN DECLARER’S LEADS OR OTHERWISE ENDPLAY HIM AT EVERY TURN.

AGAINST NO TRUMP CONTRACTS, RAGGED FOUR CARD SUITS ARE USUALLY NOT HELPFUL FOR ATTACK WITH POSSIBLE EXCEPTION OF AN UNBID MAJOR!!!! INSTEAD, GOOD DEFENDERS TRY TO FIND PARTNER’S SUIT OR MAKE A PASSIVE LEAD.

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Topic of Defence Part 2 of 5

GOING ACTIVE
 
LISTEN TO THE BIDDING – LOOK AT YOUR HAND – LOOK AT DUMMY
 
This line of defence should be adopted whenever the auction indicates that Declarer has a long running suit on which to discard losers.   On many hands , if declarer is given enough time, he will set up winners on which to throw losers.
 
CONDITIONS FOR GOING ACTIVE:
 
1.  ANY TIME YOUR TRICKS CAN GO AWAY
2.  DECLARER ‘S SIDE SUIT IS BREAKING favourably for Declarer
3.  STRONG BIDDING  (slam interest)
4.  LONG-RUNNING SUIT
 
It is important to note that an ACTIVE DEFENCE gives the defence everything to gain while there is nothing to lose.
 
When the auction indicates there is a good suit in dummy against which you have no defense or you can tell from your own hand that dummy’s suit is going to break favourably, it’s TIME TO GO ACTIVE!
 
YOUR BEST LEAD IS TO ATTACK WITH YOUR BEST SUIT
This is a case of taking your tricks before, they disappear!
 
Often you can tell from the auction and from your hand, that Declarer will be able to run a long side suit and discard losers so it is in your best interest to try to go active and grab your tricks immediately.    This may require leading from a king or leading an ace!
 
This first two lines of defense FORCING & GOING ACTIVE require you to lead your partnerships best suit.  These are active defenses and should be used :
– to FORCE declarer to lose control of the hand by making him ruff your strong suit OR
– WHEN your TRICKS CAN GO AWAY.
Stayed TUNED FOR PART 3 of 5 – Topic of Defense –  REMAINING PASSIVE !  
 

✍🏻

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Topic of Defence -Part One of Five

OPENING LEADS & THE “FIRST LINE OF DEFENCE
The simplest way not to miss a post!
go to www.thebridgeburu.com and CLICK “FOLLOW” then you will get an e-mail when each instalment is posted.   IT’S THAT SIMPLE!  There will be four more posts on Defence over the next month or so.
OPENING LEADS
Opening leads are the most important part of defence and one of the most challenging.
On most hands, however, a useful lead can be found by:
– listening carefully to the bidding
– finding clues in the auction
It is my plan to give you basic info to keep the guesswork to a minimum and to find strategies to find the best possible and often the killing lead.  Keep in mind once Dummy appears, you will have more info available and your initial strategy may need revision.
It is very gratifying to defeat the contract by getting off to the best defence.  As these defence strategies are posted,  make time with your bridge partner or group, to discuss and try out the five defensive strategies and how to recognize and implement them.  Send the website address to your friends so they can ‘FOLLOW’
The overall defence system can be broken down into FIVE PRIMARY LINES OF DEFENSE.  This first post we will discuss:
#1 – FORCING DECLARER.
This line of defence is one of the most powerful and it’s job is to force declarer to lose control of the hand.  Eventually, the defenders get control of the trump suit so that declarer can no longer cash their side suit winners – YOU WILL HAVE THE ABILITY TO STOP DECLARER BY TRUMPING HER SIDESUIT!  WHOO HOO
CONDITIONS FOR FORCING DECLARER (LISTEN TO THE BIDDING!)
when one or more of the conditions below exist use a Forcing Defense
 
A) Declarer has a two-suited hand. A few examples of a two-suited hand by opener!
– she opened spades and rebid ♥️
Another example – SHE OPENED ♦️; bid ♠️; THEN REBID ♦️
B) anytime you have 4 of declarer’s trump or think your partner has 4
– declarer opened a ❤,
her partner bid a 1 NT (does not have 3 hearts)
– Declarer rebid 2 clubs
her partner now raises the bid to 2 ♥️- she is choosing opener’s first bid suit with 2 card support
You have one ❤—— who has the other 4??????
C) Declarer’s trump suit is split 4-3 (listen to auction) – make her trump in the side with the 4 trump!
D) any time the LONG trump hand can be forced early.  (USUALLY the long trump are in Declarer’s HAND!).
HOW DO I FORCE?
LEAD THE MOST POWERFUL SUIT BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR PARTNER EVERY CHANCE YOU GET!
EXAMPLE:  YOU AND PARTNER BID DURING THE AUCTION AND YOU HAVE A GREAT SUIT BETWEEN YOU, LEAD THAT SUIT!
********** IF DUMMY SHOWS 4 CARDS IN YOU AND YOUR PARTNER’S SUIT, DECLARER ONLY HAS A FEW, KEEP PLAYING YOUR GOOD SUIT AND MAKE Declarer TRUMP FROM HER HAND!!!  SHE IS SHORTENING UP THE TRUMP SUIT AND MAY LOSE CONTROL AND WILL NOT BE ABLE TO DRAW YOUR TRUMP.  THEN YOU AND PARTNER KEEP RUNNING YOUR SUIT AND TRUMP DECLARER’S SIDE SUIT
Sometimes, you may have to lead from tenaces  such as AQ10, KJ10 or AJ10 BUT IN THIS DEFENSE , it is the CORRECT LEAD!

YOUR OBJECTIVE IS TO MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR DECLARER TO DRAW TRUMPS AND SAFELY CASH HER SIDE SUIT TRICKS!

♏✍🏻
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WHAT DOES “REDOUBLE” MEAN? 

 

This is a great way for you and partner to have more fun at the bridge table!  Get together and learn when to redouble!

Here are three different times to use a redouble –

1) TO SHOW GENERAL STRENGTH OVER INTERFERENCE (DOUBLING)  BY OPPONENT

This is the most common type of redouble used by RESPONDER.  It’s typically used after partner opens the bidding and your right-hand opponent (RHO) makes a TAKEOUT DOUBLE?

If  you, the RESPONDER , REDOUBLE in this auction, YOU promise 10+ “high-card points”  and sends a “This is our hand” message to your partner, the OPENER, because you know, between both hands, your side has the majority of the 40 high-card points.  It suggests that you have good defensive strength in unbid suits and that you may want to double the opponents’ final contract for PENALTY, as you believe you can defeat their contract.

THIS FORCES the opponents to bid, and after they do, THEY HAVE FALLEN INTO YOUR TRAP –  THINK,!!!!  YOU AND OPENER HAVE ASCERTAINED THAT THE OPPONENTS ARE INTERFERING IN YOUR AUCTION.  A DOUBLE NOW by you or partner is their punishment —-DOUBLE for PENALTY!


OR

PLANING YOUR REBID

A REDOUBLE isn’t recommended with just “any” 10 points. It’s important to consider how you’ll continue showing your hand AFTER the opponents run to a suit. This type of redouble works best when your hand is suitable for one of three rebid strategies:

A – You hope to DOUBLE the opponents’ runout. Along with your 10+ points, you’ll usually have shortness in partner’s opening suit and strong holdings at least two unbid suits. This option is most attractive when the opponents are vulnerable and you’re not.

B -You plan to rebid notrump (or steer partner toward notrump). This will be your plan if you have 10+ points and fairly balanced distribution in the unbid suits. You may choose to bid notrump rather than eventually make a penalty double if your holdings are not powerful enough to double the opponents’ contract, especially if the opponents are “not vulnerable”.

******Make careful note of OPPS DOUBLE – OPP was showing support for the three unbid suits, so, if either one of you get to play the hand, you know where the cards are and a rough estimate of points in that opponent’s hand especially for “finessing”!

C – You plan to raise partner’s opening bid suit. –A redouble followed by a minimum raise of partner’s suit shows invitational values (11-12 support points) and moderate trump support (3 cards if partner opened a major, 4+ cards if he opened a minor).

 Partner     RHO      You       LHO
1H           DBL       RDBL      1S
Pass         Pass         2H

Partner can pass 2H if he has a dead-minimum opener.
2). SOS REDOUBLE – H E L P!!!!!!! RESCUE ME PARTNER OVER OPPONENTS DOUBLE AT A LOW LEVEL OF BIDDING

This REDOUBLE is made after the opponents make a penalty of your contract, but it sends the opposite message. Also called an “SOS redouble“, it tells partner that this contract will be a disaster and he should run to another suit. You must have length in all unbid suits to use this redouble.

This meaning applies only if the auction is at a low level and you (the RESPONDER)  haven’t shown support for partner’s suit.  It has to be obvious to RESPONDER that you could be extremely short in his suit or, if the opponents have doubled YOUR OPENING BID, that you have reason to be worried about the length and quality of YOUR suit.

EXAMPLE:

Suppose you open 1C with  ♠AQ8 ♥K864 ♦1054  ♣A92, your left-hand opponent (LHO) makes a TAKEOUT DOUBLE and the auction goes Pass(RESPONDER) – Pass (RHO)back to you, the OPENER. You know your right-hand opponent (RHO) has long, strong clubs because he “converted” his partner’s takeout double to penalty by PASSING!!!

A bid  of Redouble by you asks RESPONDER to rescue you by bidding their longest suit.  YOU DO NOT CARE HOW FEW POINTS RESPONDER HAS -just need a suit fit of an acceptable 7 trump or MORE.

3).  WHEN OPP DOUBLES YOUR CONTRACT AND YOU ARE SURE YOU CAN MAKE THE CONTRACT

This redouble is made after an opponent makes a penalty double of your contract. If you are sure the opponent made a mistake, you can use the call of Redouble to increase your score if you make the contract. If you go down, however, your redouble increases the penalty.

This type of redouble is very rare and should be used cautiously. Even if you’re sure you can make your contract, a redouble keeps the auction open and gives the opponents another chance to bid. It may scare them into running back to a bid of their suit.

♏️✍🏻
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Preemptive Opening Bids —— Take Out The Fear Factor

WHAT IS A “PREEMPTIVE BID”?
An opening bid at the 3 level of 3♣️, 3♦️, 3♥️, 3♠️
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO OPEN, IN A SUIT,  AT THE THREE LEVEL?

– a long, strong suit typically 7 cards in length – this bid is based on your trick-taking capacity not points!

IMPT. NOTE:
Count high card points (HCPS) and length points (add points for each card over four in a suit ) if it totals 13 or more points -your total hand value (THV) open THE BID AT THE ONE LEVEL!  Do Not Preempt in first seat, or in second seat if the dealer passed.

example – ♣️ AKQJxxx – adds up to 10 HCPS + 3 points for each card over four in that suit = 13 points even before we add in the other suits, open 1♣️ *DO NOT OPEN THIS 3 ♣️! – open 1 ♣️ – Partner (P) needs to know you have an opening hand.  You can rebid your suit later!

The following hand is a typical for a preemptive bid:
Example:
♠️93

♥️4
♦️853
♣️KQJ10923
A Long, strong suit – “ THV “ = 9 PTS (less than opening PTS)
WHY PREEMPT?
– to get in the way of the opponents (OPPS)
– to get to play for your side
– to prevent the OPPS from reaching their best spot
– to describe your hand to partner,  who may be able to bid game
IT IS A BIT SCARY TO OPEN AT THE THREE LEVEL, SO WE USE
The Guideline of 500”
USING THIS GUIDELINE, WE ASSUME PARTNER WILL PROVIDE AT LEAST ONE TRICK!
 
First though you may need to know what “vulnerability “ means.
 
WHAT IS VULNERABILITY?
If you are playing “Chicago” or party bridge, you are vulnerable once you have “a game for your side”!  Vulnerability means you can get hurt badly if you are Vulnerable and they are not.  It’s ok not to make your preemptive bid,!  In fact, it can be good to go down to prevent the OPPS from making their vulnerable  game!!!
If you are playing “Duplicate” bridge, the vulnerability is “marked on the boards” for everyone to check out before the bidding starts.
USE THE GUIDELINE OF 500, FOR WHATEVER STYLE OF BRIDGE YOU ARE PLAYING!
Let’s find out how many tricks you can lose before , you get hurt badly!
Here is the guideline to use when deciding whether to preempt or not and how high to bid knowing you may not make it.
Unfavourable vulnerability
(You are vulnerable-OPPS not vulnerable)
bid for two tricks more than you have  (allowing one of those tricks from Partner)
GOOD – If you go down one doubled, they get 200 points
NOT GOOD – If you go down two tricks vulnerable-they get 500 pts
more than they would get if they bid and made a game not vulnerable
Equal Vulnerability  –
(Both sides not vulnerable or both sides are vulnerable, you don’t want to go down more than two tricks)
Bid for three tricks more than you have (one trick from Partner)
GOOD – If you go down two tricks, doubled & not vulnerable, the penalty is 300 points, less than the value of the OPPS non-vulnerable game.
–  IF you are both vulnerable, that would be 500 points, less than the value of their vulnerable game.
Favourable vulnerability
(OPPS vulnerable, you are not)- you can afford to be defeated up to three tricks if doubled -500 points which would be less than opp’s vulnerable game.
Bid for four tricks more than you have (allow one trick from partner)
“RESPONDING” TO PARTNER’S PREEMPTIVE BID
 
Focus on the combined trick-taking potential of the hands
With support:
– With enough tricks for game , bid game in partner’s suit
– With support (3+) and a weak hand a simple one level raise of partner’s suit keeps up the interference
No Support
– PASS with no support and less than 16 points
Your Suit
with a 5 card or longer suit and 16+ points, bid your suit!
****IT IS FORCING FOR OPENER FOR ONE ROUND IF IT IS BELOW A GAME LEVEL BID!
 
A No trump bid is also a possibility by Responder when Opener’s preemptive bid is in a minor suit!. Responder must have a fit in Opener’s suit and stoppers in the three remaining suits.  The reason Responder needs at least 3 card support is for entries to the board where opener’s Long suit lies.
Have fun, watch the vulnerability and take the fear factor out of your game!  Going down, depending on the vulnerability, can be good!

✍🏻

 

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Handling Interference​ When Your Partner Opens

P opens 1❤️
Your RHO OVERCALLS 1♠️
Scenario
A) YOU – with 3+ card support for partner’s suit and 10-12  points CUEBID THE OPP’s SUIT – this is called a “CUEBID LIMIT RAISE”
YOU bid 2♠️ – this bid tells your partner you have enough points and support for her bid at the 3 level.  Without the interference, with 3+ card support and 10+ pts. You would have bid 3 ♥️, right??
Scenario (same bid and overcall shown above)
B) YOU – with 3 card support and less than 10 points BID 3 HEARTS!!!!  The opponent’s interference has helped you give Partner the message that you are WEAK but have support.  And it’s purpose is to make it more difficult for the OPPs who will now have to bid at the 3 level!
Scenario
C) Partner opens 1♦️
OPP Overcalls 1 ♠️
YOU BID 2 ♠️ -this is a CUEBID LIMIT RAISE OF A MINOR
Since 1C and 1D opening bids often are made with only three cards, a limit raise in a minor suit should show a minimum of five cards in partner’s suit plus 11+ playing points.
IF YOU JUMP TO 3 ♦️ over OPPs OVERCALL, IT IS WEAK!!!!!!
This is called a WEAK JUMP RAISE ONCE YOU HAVE “INTERFERENCE OF A SUIT BID”.
For further info, look up CUEBID Limit Raise on-line

♏️✍🏻