What is meant by the term defensive tricks by the responder after partner
preempts with 3 Hearts?
Conceptually, your holdings can be viewed as offensive tricks, defensive
tricks, or both. Let's say your partner opens 3H and you hold:
4 3 A 10
8 2 K Q J 10 9 3 2 --
Provided your side wins the contract in Hearts, you should lose no more than
3 tricks - two Spades and 1 Diamond. So your hand is worth a whopping 7
offensive tricks. However, if your opponents outbid you in Spades, both
your and your partner's hand has little value - perhaps 1 Heart and a few
These are called defensive tricks (where your side is the defender). So you
not only want to bid 4 Hearts, you should persist on to at least 5 Hearts if
opponents bid 4 Spades - you can see by your holdings they have very long
Spades and Clubs. Further, since your partner is marked to hold the King –
Queen - Jack and little else, and since you have only 10 High Card Points
yourself, the opponents must have at least 25 points - more than enough for
game with their long black suits.
Thus, with a strong concentration of length and honors in a suit, you should
be bidding aggressively. The third circumstance is holdings that are
useful both offensively and defensively. This would be a hand where your
side does not have particularly long suits yet you and your partner have
useful honors. Let's say your opponents end up in a 4 Spade contract and
A K 2 7
6 5 4 3 2 K Q A 4 (16 points)
Notice how your honors should guarantee at least 4 tricks, 2 trumps
(Spades), at least 1 Diamond, and 1 Club. With this holding, you should
Double the opponents contract.
If you want to impress your friends, you can say the hand has "transferable
values" (useful both offensively and defensively).
However, let's say you held:
4 3 2 A
K Q J 10 9 Q J 2 K 4 (16 points)
You hand might only produce 1 or 2 tricks - again, the honors are primarily
offensive (no transferable values).
One final thought - assuming you and your partner use a disciplined
preemptive bidding approach (based on vulnerability), you could use the "Rule
of 2-3-4" to evaluate your preemptive partner's effective playing tricks
when considering game rebids. Hopefully this provides you
insights in hand evaluation and competitive bidding. Here's a
list of some good books on