When is the Defender Active?  Playing high cards; trying to win tricks quickly.  And when is the Defender Passive?  Playing low cards and letting Declarer win tricks.  Most Defense is like a boxing match.  If the fighter comes out swinging - leading with the Aces - he will soon tire and be defeated.  The best  Defender’s usually conserve their strength. They try to create winners (which might involve losing tricks).  And they 
are counter punchers; they react to the opponent’s action. 
      Of course there are times when you have to come out swinging and be aggressive. It is the expert player who knows when.  Most of the bad Defenders are bad because they are too busy: changing suits; winning 
tricks; and playing Aces.  Remember Aces take Kings or Queens; if led the Ace will capture air. 
      Most Defense is Passive;  do not lead a suit that has not been led; do not play a card that might give the Declarer a trick; and do let the Declarer win what he is entitled to win.  Do nothing desperate.  Wait, the winners will come to you.  You do not have to win; just let the Declarer lose. Again the expert Defender knows when to panic; when to be Active. He knows when to cash out; take winners; lead high cards; and when to take chances.  He knows when not  to give up the lead but to win quickly. When it is time to be Active, ACT!  When it is time to be Passive, REACT!

A long suit in Dummy or 
if  Declarer has one 

Against a preempt 

Against a Small Slam 
in a suit contract

Against a trump contract 
if Dummy does not have 
a long suit

Against a Grand Slam

Against 6 No Trump

w  If the opponents stumble into game (or if they got to   
    game after a very competitive auction) tend to be Passive.

w  If the opponents bid game confidently (or if they do not  
     have a good trump fit but a good fit in a side suit) tend 
     to be Active. 

w  When the Declarer is trying to set up a long suit be Active. 

w  Mirror the Declarer’s play.  If the Declarer is Passive, be   
    Passive. If the Declarer is Active, be Active.


go to TEST XIV