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Tip No. 19

Lawrence on Defense

The tips listed below are taken from Mike Lawrence's excellent Computer Program " Counting at Bridge".

1) Always consider the quality of your opponents.

2) Never (almost) lead an unsupported Ace against a suit contract. It is even worse to lead from an Ace against a suit contract.

3) The time to lead a trump is when you know it is right. It is rarely right to lead a trump because "you don't know what else to lead".

4) A defender holding 4 trumps often has a lethal weapon. Few things are more disturbing to declarer than a bad trump split. When you have 4 trumps, look for a way to exploit this asset.

5) When partner leads a suit, signal attitude first (or play third hand high). The next time the suit is lead, signal count (Present Count. This means that if you started with 4 in the suit, you now have three and should signal an odd number).

6) Defenders should not switch suits without a very good reason. Switching suits, on average, costs a half trick.

7) The better you and your partner become at defending, the more careful you must be to play meaningful cards.

8) Count declarer's likely (or sure) tricks. If he has all he needs, you must take whatever tricks you have immediately.

9) Following suit high-low in trumps shows that you started with three (or more). This is called the Trump Echo. Mike recommends always using this signal, not only when you have a potential ruff. It rarely helps declarer and can often help partner.

10) The accuracy of your inferences will depend on how good your opponents are. A bad opponent can't be trusted to do the right thing as often as a good player.

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