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Points Schmoints - CHAPTER 17
The Defense Never Rests
© Marty Bergen


Order Points Schmoints here   Other Bergen books
Index   TOC

Prior Chapter:
DO A LOT WITH A LITTLE                                                                  145

Note: Only summaries are included below -
see book for details

When to Say No to Second Hand Low                                                     155

You Be the Judge                                                                                      158

If Declarer Smart, Defender Not                                                             162

Give Partner the Signal                                                                            164

When to Say No to Second Hand Low

“...the world is full of competent declarers, but the truly expert defender is a rare bird indeed.”

                                                                            Hugh Kelsey

One basic principle of card play is second hand low. When you play second to a trick, there is usually no rush to play a high card. Why? Because your partner still has the opportunity to compete for the trick.

Second hand low, although sound advice, is only a guideline. Sometimes logic dictates that you play second hand high. How many exceptions are there to second hand low?  The list is longer than you might think. You should play second hand high in order to:

1.    Take the setting trick.

2.    Obtain the lead (e.g., in order to give partner a ruff).

3.    Keep an opponent from winning a trick cheaply. For example, you have KQJx and declarer leads toward dummy's A10.

4.    Win a trick that might disappear if you do not take it now.

5.    Prevent declarer or dummy from winning a singleton honor.

6.    Cover an honor, hoping to promote a card for your side.

7.    Preserve an entry to partner's hand (usually against notrump).

Page 155
© Marty Bergen

You Be the Judge

“The persons who feel it necessary to conclude each hand with a magisterial correction of their partners (and their opponents as well) have no place at the bridge table, or anywhere else they might come into contact with civilized beings.”

Elmer Davis, bridge writer, Harper's Magazine

A bridge partnership consists of two individuals, who invariably have different points of view. Postmortems are seldom dull, particularly after a disaster. Rationalization, partner-bashing and damage control are inevitable, even when the culprits are otherwise fair-minded.


If Declarer Smart, Defender Not

“Never reproach your partner if there is the slightest thing for which you can reproach yourself.”


Ely Culbertson

If your opponents are consistently bidding to the best contract, you may not be competing and preempting enough. If declarer is playing too skillfully, perhaps you are not putting up a challenging enough defense.


Give Partner the Signal

Most experts, if asked, are quick to explain suit-preference signals. They emphasize that unlike all other defensive signals, suit preference is usually given by the person leading to the trick. Perhaps it might be more helpful if they were called suit-preference leads.

Suit-preference signals are ideal when you are attempting to give partner a ruff.


THROW LOSERS, KEEP WINNERS                                                   169

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