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The offence to defence ratio (ODR) refers to how a hand will perform differently when it is played as a declarer or a defender. A high ODR means that the hand is better played as a declarer, while a low ODR means that the hand is better played as a defender. It is not a formalised concept and has no clear mathematical formula for it.

For example, the following hand has a very high ODR:


74
AKQJ987
32
52


It can be played greatly in s, guarantees 7 tricks even opposite a partner with no values, but can take at most 2 tricks if the contract is in a suit other than s.

In contrast, the following hand has a very low ODR:


AK
8765432
AQ
AK


No matter what suit it is played in, the short suits generally perform well because they have high honours in them.

Normally, the following are good for an offensive hand:

  • long and solid trumps
  • side shortness

and the following are good for a defensive hand:

  • side honours
  • balanced shape

The ODR of a hand is an important thing to consider in competitive auctions, when deciding whether to bid on, or double them for penalty.

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