Confusing The Opposition

As the defender in a game of bridge, sometimes you might find that it is difficult to work out which cards the declarer’s partner holds.  Have you ever found this?  If you have, it’s because the partnership have worked out how to conceal their best cards from you.

It’s a useful skill to have and one that you could usefully use yourself.  How are they doing it?  How do they confuse you so that you can’t work out which cards they hold?

Take a look at this example.

You are declarer.  Dummy holds 4 and 3 of spades and you hold K Q 6 of spades.  You are playing N S.

You are playing in NT so  you assume that West has led away from the Ace, and therefore holds the Ace.  West has lead with the 5 of spades and East played J of spades.  Should you win with the K or the Q?

This is the key to confusing the opposition.  If we play the Q, West will know that we have the K.  Why?  Because East would have played the K if s/he held it.  So we play the K.  This leaves W not knowing who holds the Q – it could be us, or it could be E.

As a general rule, if you hold consecutive cards and playing one of them will win  you the trick, you should:

  • Play the higher card if you are declarer
  • Play the LOWER card if you are defending