There are very few players who will claim that defense is the best part of their game. This is not surprising. When I started to play bridge, there were many books on bidding and play and I devoured them as fast as I could get my hands on them. Defense was another matter. Even after finding a few resources on defense, it was still a difficult topic.
There are many reasons why this might be so. Defense requires a different kind of visualization than declarer play. But the reason that most makes sense to me is that a good defender has to have a partner who is also a good defender.
When you play a hand, you are on your own. It is you against both of your opponents. Your partner just sits there following your instructions and offering silent encouragement as you play the hand.
In the bidding, it is true, there must be some cooperation, but bidding is much more forgiving than defense. Defense requires delicate timing and if either defender misses a beat, the whole plan goes down the drain.
In addition to being able to work out the problems at hand, not always easy since you can only see your hand and dummy’s, you and your partner must speak the same language.
What, for instance, do you lead when you have the AK83 of a suit? Do you lead the king or the ace? What do you lead from the 763 of a suit? Do you lead the seven, the six, or the three? Why? What is your rule for leading from three small cards?
Your partner leads the queen against notrump and you have the K84 and signal that you like the suit. The queen wins and partner continues with the jack. So you unblock your king of do you play the four? Again, why determines your choice?
In DEFENSE, you will visit the Chamber of Horrors, a litany of bad plays that you and your partner have made at one time or another. Never again!
DEFENSE won’t make you a wonderful defender overnight. It will, however, show you many of the important things you need to think about. Have you ever watched a good defender at work? Did you ever wince as he played an ‘impossible’ card only to see that it was the right thing to do? Want to know why he did that?
Much of what you need to know is in this disc. I guarantee that if you play these hands and listen to what is in here, you will be taking an important step towards being a wiser and better defender.