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The "tricky" question





The defense objects, your Honor






Do unto others before they...

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 Diamonds.

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 you hold:

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 Preempts.



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