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Basic Defense #1
#1
The simplest defensive situation also happens to be a fairly common one: declarer cashes side suit aces, then exits with a trump to his partner, who then cashes some side suit aces. So unless you have a good reason to think differently, it’s reasonable to assume that your (defensive) side now has all the missing aces. That means, those aces are tricks now…unless they get trumped.

This makes one of the most basic defensive tactics clear for this situation: get trump out! Specifically, get *dummy’s* trumps out. You don’t mind if declarer ruffs; that’s a trick he’s going to get in any case, at least most of the time. Declarer’s bidding and play are based in part on his expected trick count; given, say, an AATTKQJ trump suit, he counts 5 tricks. His ruffs don’t change that. When dummy ruffs one of declarer’s losers, though, it’s a ‘bonus’ trick: a trick declarer didn’t count, and one that wasn’t based on an ace. In every pinochle hand, there are a certain number of tricks that will be won by one side or the other, largely regardless of the play. The rest are up for grabs: they can be won or lost. When dummy gets to ruff one of declarer’s losers, very often the defense just lost one of those.

The critical mistake for the defense is to get too busy: start cashing a whole lot of aces. The defenders’ aces that will cash, are in the first category: tricks that were pre-determined. Note that there are *2* risks here, when the defense gets busy: first, that dummy will ruff, and second, that by removing the aces, you may be setting up non-ace tricks for declarer. Here's an example; we'll put declarer in the South seat:

Declarer:
ASTSTSKSKSQSJSJSTHTHTHKHQHACKCQCADKDQDQDJD

Dummy:
ASKSQSJSAHKHTCTCTCKCQCJCJCADTDTDTDQDJDJD

The early play: AC,AD,QS to dummy's AS,AH,AD,KH exit to East's AH.

First, let's look at the situation. Declarer counts 5 trump tricks (8 card suit missing 3 aces), plus 2 side aces for 7. Dummy's provided 3 tricks with his 3 aces, so declarer is now on pace for 10 tricks, and probably a split deck. Defense probably saves.

But watch what happens if East immediately plunks down his 2nd AH...getting busy. OOPS! Dummy ruffs. One trick gone. Worse, when declarer gets in, he now leads TH, forcing West to play AH...and even if the defense has removed dummy's last 2 trump, South now has THTH *which are now good*. Now he's got 31, and the defense doesn't save.

So here's principle #1: DON'T get busy and cash side-suit aces, when the other side has presumably done so.

Principle #2, that's a corollary of #1: when you do have to play side suits, hammer at 1 suit at a time, repeatedly, until you can't or you find a darn good reason not to.

This is, as I noted at the start, the simplest case, and there are plenty of exceptions and variations that I'll try to cover as we go on.
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Messages In This Thread
Basic Defense #1 - ToreadorElder - 11-01-2012, 01:46 PM
RE: Basic Defense #1 - rakbeater - 11-01-2012, 09:00 PM
RE: Basic Defense #1 - mickmackusa - 11-02-2012, 11:22 AM
RE: Basic Defense #1 - ToreadorElder - 11-02-2012, 12:19 PM
RE: Basic Defense #1 - rakbeater - 11-02-2012, 09:47 PM
RE: Basic Defense #1 - ToreadorElder - 11-05-2012, 01:32 PM
RE: Basic Defense #1 - rakbeater - 11-15-2012, 10:00 PM

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