Countless millions of books on declarer play have been published over the decades. The technical aspects have been covered ad nauseum; information on card combinations, safety plays, analysis of bidding and leads, etcetera, is widely available, both in print and online.
Much less discussion has been devoted to the issue of "managing" the opponents. I am not talking about manhandling expert defenders here, or even the best players at your club necessarily; all that one might hope to achieve against them is to win whatever tricks are legitimately available. No, I am referring primarily to Average Joe and Average Jane, metaphors for the majority of opponents that one tends to encounter on a regular basis at club games or perhaps the local Sectional.
While making no claim of extraordinary expertise at either bridge play or psychology,
I would share a few
ideas — some of which you will not
have read elsewhere, and some of which seem to have eluded the attention of many
experienced players. Kudos to anyone who already knows all this stuff.
Note: This is a living document; it will be updated.