Only summaries are included below -
see book for details
to Trump —
An Artist With
Do You Believe
Force Declarer to Trump — Absolutely
The opponents bid to a contract of 4.
You lead the
partner encourages with the 10 as declarer drops the jack.
Here is the layout of the diamonds in view:
happily continue with the king, which declarer trumps with
Which of the following best expresses your feelings at the
You wish you had led something else.
You are angry with partner for encouraging without shortness.
You erred in allowing declarer to win a trick with his deuce
of trumps. You would take it back if you could.
You are pleased to have shortened declarer's trumps.
players respond with a combination of the first three answers.
Why is that? They channel their hopes and energy into winning
tricks immediately! If they cannot, out of sight, out of
mind. Do not allow yourself to think this way.
Defensive play should be considered from a long-range
perspective. Declarer's losers won’t magically disappear. Good
defenders proceed with a plan while waiting to reap the fruits
of their labor.
A key principle that should govern your defense against suit
to shorten the opponent's hand that is longest in
Assuming that declarer usually has trump length, it is
important to understand that his trumps will always be good
tricks. Declarer should not be happy when forced to part with
a precious trump when he has a trump holding such as:
Declarer was always going to win four spade tricks while
losing one. Once declarer is down to four trumps, a 4–1 split
(35.53%) could ruin him. The defenders should pump declarer's
trumps, hoping that he will lose control of the hand. This is
referred to as the forcing game. It is especially
applicable when a defender has four trumps, or believes that
his partner might have four.
the other hand, declarer is normally delighted to ruff in the
short hand. The tricks dummy can win by ruffing represent
bonus trump tricks.
Declarer must be careful to keep enough trumps in his hand to
retain control. This is crucial, except when all trump
tricks are taken separately via a crossruff. Declarer
should be eager to ruff in the short hand but reluctant to
ruff with trump length. It should come as no surprise that
declarer’s objectives are the opposite of the defenders’.
“If winning is not important, then tell me why keep score?”
Klingon crew member in Star Trek, the Next Generation
I would like to show you the ultimate example of the
forcing game. Imagine that you are dealt the following:
are surprised and delighted when you are doubled; how naïve of
your opponent to believe that he will defeat you with his
You lose no time in redoubling, wondering if anyone is capable
of figuring out your score (vulnerable, it would be 2940 using
expected, your opponent leads his
Partner apologizes for being broke, but you assure him that
you have matters under control.
North East South
— — — 7
Dbl P P Rdbl
Believe it or not, South can take only his six trump tricks.
Every time West ruffs, he plays another diamond, forcing
declarer to trump. Having lost control, South is down seven,
a score of minus 4000.
fact, with repeated diamond leads, North-South cannot make any
game contract. Unbelievable!
infamous hand is obviously rigged. South is the pigeon to be
plucked, preferably in a high-stakes rubber bridge game. It is
known as the Mississippi Heart Hand, because it was widely
used by 19th century cardsharps  on Mississippi
Rigged or not, this deal illustrates three important bridge
The forcing game.
Length is more important than strength. After observing
the fate of West's seven small hearts versus South's six high
ones, case closed.
From The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge, Fifth Edition
(1994). Charles M. Schwab is reported to have paid off
at least $10,000 on this hand.
An Artist With a Small Canvas
“The ultimate in bridge is learning to play with poor cards.”
Chip Martel, many-time world
A bridge hand containing no card higher than a nine is called
a Yarborough, named after an English lord who would wager
1,000 pounds to one against the chance of being dealt such a
hand. Lord Yarborough certainly knew what he was doing. The
actual odds of such a hand are 1,827 to 1. Nowadays,
Yarborough has been modified to describe a very bad hand,
not necessarily adhering to the original requirements
Do You Believe in Magic?
Bridge can be a very aesthetic game. As in any other
competitive endeavor, you must remember not to throw in the
towel when the outlook is hopeless. This strategy is easy to
understand but difficult to apply. With a little practice,
forging ahead and making something out of nothing can become a
vital part of your philosophy.
Whenever declarer appears to have no losers remaining in
the side suits (suits other than trump), the defenders
should try to create extra trump tricks.
CHAPTER 17 -
THE DEFENSE NEVER RESTS