I am going to start providing bridge tips for everyone. If you have a subject matter that you'd like to see discussed, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be glad to address that for you.
I have chosen to start with the opening tips from "Kantar on Bridge - Defensive Tips for Bad Card Holders". (Kantar, 1994)
WARM UP TIPS
- Never, but never forget you are playing with a partner. It pays to consider what things may look like from partner's point of view, particularly when you are privy to some information that partner isn't.
- You cannot defend properly unless you remember the bidding.
- You cannot defend properly unless you know what system the opponents are playing.
- You cannot defend properly unless you watch the cards, particularly the little fellows.
- You cannot defend properly unless you count.
- You cannot expect your partner to defend properly if you make faces or show other signs of disapproval.
- Keep one goal in mind: DEFEATING THE CONTRACT. Do not worry about overtricks unless you are defending a doubled contract or are playing tournament bridge.
- A player who hesitates during the bidding is likely to have a problem hand. If that player becomes the declarer, keep the hesitation in mind.
- The figure to focus on during the defense is the number of tricks you need at any given moment to defeat the contract. Defense is based on that figure.
- Give your opening lead a little consideration. The fate of many a contract is determined by that one card. Use the bidding as a guide.
- Make sure you and your partner are on the same wave length concerning leads and signaling conventions.
- Don't compound a crime. If you, or more likely partner, have made an error, do not lose your cool. Many contracts can still be beaten after one defensive error, seldom after TWO.
- If partner makes a nice play, a kind word or two at the end of the hand goes a long way.
- The speed of the play may be a clue to declarer's problem. When playing a 4-3 trump fit, play usually slows to a crawl.
- When two possible defenses present themselves to defeat the contract, both equally likely, select the simpler. (Unless you are looking to make an appearance in a newspaper column.)
- If you can see the winning defense, take charge. Don't put any additional pressure on partner if you don't have to.
- Keep partner's skill level in mind. Lead a poor player by the hand.
- Watch partner's spot card signals. The stronger your partner, the more meaningful they are.
- Keep your singletons and doubletons in the middle of your hand. Some players watch where your cards come from.
- Try not to guard against non-existent dangers; guard only against those that are consistent with the bidding and play.
- Try to put ourself in declarer's shoes. If you can discern her fears, play on those fears though they may not exist.