Even More Defence: Discards

The lesson modules have been designed to build on the Online School Curriculum. They include some Quick Tips to help you focus on the topic.
When making a discard, keep a few principles in mind and try not to discard something that may have made a trick later.

Then you can play and review the lesson hands.
If you have more time to spare, you can also complete the earlier Defence lesson on Discards.

Quick Tips (Thanks again Eddie Kantar)

  • When discarding (especially in no trumps), you don’t have to discard from the long good suit you want if it means losing a potential tricks there

  • Instead, discard a high card of a suit you DON’T want, and leave your long suit with all its length (playing low to encourage)

  • When deciding which suits to keep length in, hold your cards in dummy’s long suits

  • So if you see four cards of a suit in dummy, and you have four cards, do NOT discard any cards in that suit

  • Remember which suits declarer will have length in, and hold your cards in that suit too

  • If partner discards from one suit, you should tend to discard from another suit

  • Declarer will often play their long (or trump) suit, hoping you will discard a potential winner by mistake.

This week’s hand:

We are focusing on defence this week (and month), so our panel has been asked to watch this hand and then explain what they’d lead and why. It’s hand 1 in the hands to play above, and watch the review afterwards.

Which suit and card would you lead?

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David Appleton

We need partner to shift to a heart when they (hopefully) get on lead. However, we cannot afford to part with a heart, so the way forward will be to discourage in the other suits. We plan to discard the 7♣ and the 9♦️, if allowed.
However, say declarer immediately plays another spade and partner is on lead then, we have only one discard. I'd recommend the 9♦️, since partner will by default prefer to play a heart through to you rather than a club.

GeO Tislevoll.jpeg

GeO Tislevoll

We need to try to help partner to find a heart switch. It looks as if partner might win the third spade, so I want to discourage both clubs and diamonds. The first suit to discourage will be the one I have nothing in (ie clubs), because my diamonds might be valuable. So my first discard will be the ♣7.

Because my diamond suit could be valuable , I will not discard a diamond until the second discard (♦️10). So I’m trying to tell partner what NOT to switch to.

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Matt Smith

One way to get partner to shift to hearts is by discarding our highest club and diamond (discouraging).

Another way is to discard the ♣7 (discouraging) then the 6♣ (suit preference for hearts).

I would discard the 7♣ then the 6♣ if playing with my regular partner.


Joan Butts

Because it’s so important to keep four hearts, you can’t afford to discard one to show partner what suit you want. So sometimes you need to make a negative signal, saying DON’T lead this or that, hoping it will steer partner in the right direction!

Related Workbook

The Defence Workbook contains hands analysis and lesson tips and tricks.

Test your knowledge

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