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X-Def 03

Here is an example of right and wrong defence from recent play. I hope that after the earlier chapters on opening leads this example will make total sense. Not that there is always a 100% sure line of defence evry time. Let’s see what happened when this deal was played some time ago.

Dealer East EW Vul

Q743
J8754
A8
63
AKT2
KT3
T653
J8
J8
AQ92
KJ42
Q75
965
6
Q97
AKT942

X-Def 02

Here are my recommendations for opening leads from certain holdings in your strongest suit. Note that it is not always best to attack your own ‘strongest’ suit, be it against No Trump or suit contracts. However this review will give you a start towards developing your opening lead skills.

a) Your lead against 3NT? b) Your lead against 4S? holding

  1. AQ972
  2. QJ97
  3. K972
  4. AJ763
  5. KQT2
  6. AK93
  7. QJ542
  8. AKT94
  9. J9432
  10. AJT32

X-Def 01

Welcome to my new series on DEFENCE. This is a continuation following on from the articles dealing with the “Rule of 11”, a good place to start when we are discussing defence.

Before we get into all aspects of defence, we need to work out a basic structure of how to play combinations of cards when we a) start the defence with the opening lead and b) continue the defence after the opening lead has been made and the beginnings of a plan formed by both defenders.

X-Clubs 56

The bidding on board 10 would almost certainly lead to East playing in 3NT after either a transfer sequence when East opens 1NT, or another invitational sequence where West shows an 11 or 12 point hand with five spades. Take a look at just the South hand and decide what you would lead.

Board 10 from Monday 13/03/23
Dealer East All Vul

T543
K865
54
642
AQ862
T92
Q93
KJ
K9
J43
A876
AQT7
J7
AQ7
KJT2
9853

X-Clubs 55

Declarer play is much easier if you follow the basic rules of counting the points, taking finesses where needed, and keeping a close eye on all the cards. And, of course, use all the cards to develop as many tricks as you can. A bit of understanding of your opponents also helps. This deal should have produced 11 tricks in No Trumps for every East irrespective of the bidding or the defence.

Board 7 from Wednesday 8/03/23
Dealer South All Vul

QT6542
93
A5
Q65
J97
84
K9763
K73
AK3
AKQ7
842
AJ2
8
JT652
QJT
T984

X-Clubs 53

This will be the final article dealing with the “Rule of 11”.

X-Clubs 52

Two basic rules in bridge play are: “second hand low” and “third hand high” and they are certainly good as far as they go. However they should not be followed blindly, because such rules are there to help with decisions, not become automatic. Another ‘rule’ that is closely tied in with the ‘rules’ for second and third hand play is the Rule of 11, which I explained earlier. Now let us take a look at the problems posed previously, and look at how the “Rule of 11” can be instrumental in your decision of which card to play as second or third hand.

X-Clubs 51

What is one of the first things your bridge teacher taught you about opening leads?

X-Clubs 50

For the next few weeks, I would like to introduce something different. The topic I am about to cover may be relevant to actual X-Clubs deals, in which case I will, as usual, write them up from actual play.

For the rest of the time, as in this issue, I will discuss a bit of theory, on DEFENCE, for any readers who are keen to improve their defence. I will start this issue with some theoretical questions relating to defensive play, and it would be helpful if the readers would participate by giving me their input, with answers to me (Vil) at villyn@xtra.co.nz

[Editor's note - you better Listen Up! Vil is too modest to mention it but he and partner Lynne Bruce were top of 207 pairs in the Tuesday Night session and again top but of 410 pairs in the Friday Daytime in the week (09) just passed. Vil must know what he's talking about, wouldn't you think?]

Why I love Defence

X-Clubs 48

When partner opens the bidding with 1S and a vulnerable right hand opponent leaps to 4H, do you, as North, lick your lips and double for penalties or do you think you have a better option? Those who doubled scored +800 which in the greater scheme of things scored well enough, but surely bidding a slam must score better, given North’s hand. Just take a look at today’s deal.

Board 22 from Tuesday 14/02/23
Dealer East EW Vul

J7
AK8
AQ86
AK64
4
QJT975432
J
T5
86532
T974
QJ32
AKQT9
6
K532
987

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