Polling You #60, Defending Against Endplays in Contract Bridge

Now that we’ve mastered  endplay tactics as the declarer, it’s time to turn our attention to the more formidable task – defending against the throw-in, elimination and avoidance play by our craft opponents.

Playing good Bridge requires thought, measured responses, partnership cooperation and more (good fortune is always graciously accepted).  So let’s get in the mind of the declarer trying to perpetrate an endplay on us and come up with some appropriate countermeasures.

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 Declarer’s Basic Trick-Taking Strategies:

– Ruff side suit losers in dummy

– Promote suit in dummy or hand

– Finessing

Declarer’s Problem (End Play Solution):

– Extra trump, 4+ in dummy but…

– Mirrored/nearly mirrored side suits

– No ability to ruff in dummy (equal length)

– Unable to promote dummy side suit


Declarer’s Tactic, Throw-in and End Play:

1. Pull trump

2. Eliminate two side suits (promote/ruff)

3. Throw declarer’s LHO in lead

4. Finesse leader or leader’s partner, or give declarer ruff and sluff


Opponent Tactical Response Countermeasures:

1. Watch: dummy, line of play, your/partner’s possible holding

2. If non-dangerous opponent (declarer’s LHO), leave yourself a safe exit card

3. If dangerous opponent (declarer’s RHO), protect your partner: win or play-up on intermediates

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Happy Bridge Trails and Tales,



  1. abestenberg says:

    The last “bridge hands” I received was # 60 on 4/9 , and I wonder if I have missed getting some others, or that was the last one you have sent.

    Abe Stenberg

    • BridgeHands says:
      Hi Abe,
      Our latest episode #61 on Jacoby Transfers (uploaded late Friday) has more than 60 minutes of video programming, which required additional time and effort to produce. Also included with many of the hands are statistical results from a computer simulation program to both reinforce the lesson and help everyone quantify the value of Jacoby Transfer bids, balanced 5-3-3-2 versus unbalanced responder hands, etc.
      Thank you all for your anticipated patience – on our next posting article we will focus on bidding a large number hands.
      Warm Regards,
  2. BridgeHands says:
    Hello Bridge Pollsters,
    No one likes being caught in a trap and being the object of opponents endplay tactic is no exception. So on this lesson, we ask, “As defender, what can we do to avoid being endplayed?” Looking at our responses, a clear majority go with, All of the above.”
    5 percent – With tenaces, declarer’s LHO should keep a safe exit card
    2 percent – If possible, declarer’s RHO plays intermediate cards to keep pard off lead
    11 percent – Both of the above
    5 percent – Declarer’s LHO may try exiting in trump
    78 percent – All of the above
    As we’ve seen in our lesson and hand examples, many endplays occur when the player to the left of the declarer(with strong values) are thrown into the lead. So depending on your perspective, several or all of these factors can help keeping you or your partner from suffering an endplay.
    Knowing the “who, what, when, where, and why” can be very helpful to both execute and endplay as well as help avoid being caught up in one yourself.
    Happy Bridge Trails,

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