Julian Pottage

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One of the most important things you need to do as a defender is to decide whether to defend actively or passively. By an active defence, I mean that you try to set up or cash winners, or that you attack an entry, or in some other way try to thwart declarer. An active defence often involves breaking new suits, hoping partner has the right cards (in that suit and perhaps elsewhere) to make your defence successful.

 Q 10 6  
   K J 5

Suppose you are East and have the lead. If you want to make three quick spade tricks, you should lead your low spade. You hope that partner holds the ace and no more than four spades in all. You hope that the layout is something like this:      

   Q 10 6  
 A 8 7 2    K J 5
   9 4 3  

 Partner wins the first round with the ace and returns the two (original fourth best). You then make two more tricks by finessing the jack or capturing the queen. A switch to the suit involves significant risk. Suppose this is really the layout:

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Julian Pottage
Julian Pottage