The Five Lines of Defense

  • Forcing Declarer
  • Being Active
  • Being Passive
  • Cutting Down Ruffing Power
  • Creating Trump Tricks

Supporting Tools of Information

  • Inferences from Bidding or Play
  • Counting Points
  • Counting Distribution
  • Counting Tricks
  • Defensive Signal

There are five primary lines of defense. They are the recurring themes that transcend every hand. We will take you through each one and show you how the expert chooses which defense to employ. Supporting those lines of defense are several informational tools that can be put to work for you as the hand unfolds. They will help you choose the correct line of defense.


The most powerful line of defense is the force. It causes declarer to lose control of the hand and to abandon side-suit winners (you may even completely take over the hand). The goal is to get control of declarer’s own trump suit. The force is an ideal defense in matchpoints because it maximizes your potential for defensive tricks. Therefore, the force, when the right conditions are present, has priority over any other line of defense.

Conditions for Forcing Declarer …[button link=»» size=»small» window=»yes»]click here to continue reading[/button]