After many years of my teaching, lecturing, working, and playing with me, my students began to collect the sayings I would make in my lectures and at the table.  They began asking me to repeat myself (so they could write them down) and started reading over and reviewing the advice before we would play.   So I thought it was a good idea to collect these bits of bridge wisdom (when I said them and from their lists, as well as from some bridge greats) and put them together for many people to make use of.   I hope you find them educational, funny, and/or helpful!

If you focus on playing good bridge then good results will come. If you focus on trying to get good results then you won’t play good bridge.
— Robert S. Todd
It’s not usually the first mistake that gives you a bad board, it’s the second one. You often make the second mistake because you are still focusing on the first one. Don’t let one mistake cause another!
— Robert S. Todd
Rules are there for a reason. Don’t mastermind or attempt to place the contract early in the auction. Start by trying to follow the rules and describe your hand.
— Robert S. Todd
Get out of your hand - focus your thoughts out onto the table!
— Robert S. Todd
One of the most frustrating ways to be a bad partner is to let one zero give you another zero.
— Robert S. Todd
2NT is a convention, not a contract!
— Robert S. Todd
When you are in bad contract, be an optimist. When you are in a good contract, be a pessimist.
— Robert S. Todd
On Defense, active plays try to win tricks, while passive plays try not give up tricks.
— Robert S. Todd
One of the keys to being a good defender (bridge player) is to think about the right thing at the right time.
— Robert S. Todd
It is important to understand why we learn conventions. They are tools to help us better communicate with partner. But we must become a craftsman and learn to use our tools effectively. Until we do, we will not be able to get the most out of them.
The process of learning to use a new convention can be a difficult one. We will often take one step back (make mistakes or have bidding mixups) in an effort to move forward. It is important for us to recognize this and realize that adopting a new convention and learning to use it effectively is a long term investment in improving our game.
— Robert S. Todd
Support with Support!
— All Bridge Partners
All jumps in competition are weak! (Except when they are known not to be.)
— Robert S. Todd
The auction tells you what to lead, your hand has to persuade you otherwise.
— Benito Garozzo
When working hard and focusing on details it can be easy to miss the forest for the trees. Always try to keep one eye on the big picture.
— Robert S. Todd
The opening lead is our primary advantage as defenders, do not waste it!
— Robert S. Todd
Bridge is a game of skill, but also a game of psychology. Unfortunately, some players will try to get under your skin (especially in long tournament matches). Don’t let them do it! Come to the bridge table with thick skin and get them back by playing your best bridge - rise to the occasion, don’t sink to their level.
— Robert S. Todd
When winning a trick, it is best to select your lead to the next trick before you play your winning card. At the very least select your lead to the next trick before turning over your card from the previous trick - leave it up on the table, this allows you to look back at everyone’s cards.
— Robert S. Todd
The Law of Total Tricks is your friend. In competitive auctions it serves as your “fall guy” - if you follow it and you are wrong you can blame The Law. So vary from The Law sparingly - do so only when you feel strongly and otherwise let it guide you.
— Robert S. Todd
(Re: Late in the hand play) Keep trump if you’re setting up an outside suit, run trump if you have nothing left to set up!
— Robert S. Todd
Don’t get too fancy, just try to bid your longest suit...
— Robert S. Todd
If you get rattled at the bridge table, stop doing all the other things that you do when you are playing and just focus on bridge...
— Robert S. Todd
No doubleton leads and definitely no doubleton leads without trump control!
— Robert S. Todd
Rule 1 when discarding — Do No Harm! (Do not give up a trick trying to signal.)
— Robert S. Todd
Good partnerships should practice the Breakfast Review. Postmortem the hands (session) the next day when cooler and calmer heads are present.
— Robert S. Todd
Lead trump against doubled part scores!
— Robert S. Todd
Keep in mind that a 2NT Rebid by Opener shows 18-19 points if responder could have as few as 6 points - even if it is not a jump!
— Robert S. Todd
When on opening lead against 3NT ask yourself: What is Opener’s 4-card suit? (Every hand has at least one 4+ card suit.)
— Robert S. Todd
It is almost always wrong to play in 5-minor; only in competition and when trying to get to 6-minor should we end up in 5-minor.
— Robert S. Todd
On Defense sometimes you play Defense and sometimes you play Offense. Figuring this out on each hand is key to helping you keep the right cards.
— Robert S. Todd
Upgrade for length more aggressively opposite a notrump opener.
— Robert S. Todd
Preempts should be offensively oriented hands. That means defense is actually a bad thing to have when you preempt.
— Robert S. Todd
Better to clear up your agreements with a question (discussion) than with a zero.
— Robert S. Todd
A knowledge of the mechanics will suffice to put a player in a commanding position in the post-mortem. To become a member of the upper crust calls for more, much more. Resilience, imagination, occasional flashes of inspiration, these are the hallmarks of quality. And this transcends the realm of science.
— Victor Mollo