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Subj:.....Still More Opening Leads from Chapter 1 #2 (S532c)
          From Chapter 1 - "Opening Leads", page 5

From the book How To Defend A Bridge Hand 
              by William S. Root 
              Published in 1994 by 
              Crown Publishing, Inc., New York 

Study the bidding carefully and then choose your opening
lead for each of the following hands.
 
 
1. West
8 7 5 2
4 3
A Q J 9
J 8 7
West

Pass

North

3 NT

East
Pass
All Pass
South
1 NT

If you decide to lead a spade, lead the eight to tell partner you have nothing in spades and do not want him to return that suit.  If he should get the lead, the diamond weakness in dummy should make it apparent that he should return a diamond.


 
2. West
8 7 5 2
Q 4 3
9 7 6
J 8 7
West

Pass

North

3 NT

East

All Pass

South
1 NT

Lead the two of spades.  Since you have no strong suit that you wish partner to lead, you might as well lead your fourth-highest spade; although some good players would lead a high spade to discourage partner from returning the suit.


 
3. West
9 7 5 4
4 3
A Q J 9
J 8 7
West

Pass
 

North

3 NT
 

East

All Pass
 

South
1 NT

The nine may be an important card, so lead the seven of spades.  Partner should read the seven to be a high card (as opposed to fourth-highest) and, if he gets the lead, not return a spade.  The nine is the wrong card to lead because there are suit combinations where leading it would give declarer an extra trick.


 
4. West
9 8 7 6 3
6 5 2
A Q
10 5 4
West

Pass
 

North

3 NT
 

East

All Pass
 

South
1 NT

Lead the six of spades (fourth-highest), to encourage partner to return the suit if he should get the lead.  Although declarer may have two or three spade stoppers, developing long cards in the spade suit offers the best chance to beat the contract.

Note that leading the top card of a sequence does not apply here because the sequence is not headed by an honor, but, if you had a strong holding in another suit (such as A Q J x), the nine from 9 8 7 6 3 would be a good lead; to tell partner that you do not want him to return that suit.


 

5.
. J 5
Q J 10
K J 10 9 2
7 6 2
Q 10 7 6 3
9 5.......
A 8.......
Q J 10 5..
K 9 2
7 4 3 2
6 5 3
K 8 4
A 8 4
A K 8 6
Q 7 4
A 9 3

Bids:
 
West

Pass
Pass

North

2 NT
Pass

East

Pass
Pass

South
1 NT
3 NT

The recommended lead with the West hand is the six of spades (fourth-hightst), and in this case it takes a spade lead to beat the contract.  If the declarer holds up his ace, the defenders will continue to lead spades until the ace is driven out (although a club shift is okay too).  Declarer has no chance to make his contract without developing diamond tricks, so West will regain the lead with the ace of diamonds and cash the rest of his spades.

Note that the queen of club is a tempting choice for the opening lead.  But even though partner has the king of clubs, you can establish only three club tricks to win when you regain the lead with the ace of diamonds.  It is usually better to lead from a five-card suit rather than from a four-card suit, unless the five-card suit is very weak and the four-card suit contains an honor sequence.  For example, change the spades in the hand to 10 x x x x and the queen-of-clubs lead becomes a more attractive choice.


 

6.
. A 6 5
8 7 2
K Q J
J 10 7 3
9 7 2...
A 10 4 3
7 4 3...
8 6 5...
J 10 8 3
Q J 9 5
9 6 2
A 4
K Q 4
K 6
A 10 8 5
K Q 9 2

Bids:
 
West

Pass

North

3 NT
 

East

All Pass

South
1 NT

 

Note that if you lead the three of hearts, declarer will win the first trick with the king of hearts and make his contract.  When partner gets the lead with the ace of clubs, you can collect only three heart tricks.  Suppose you lead the nine of spades, although any lead but a heart will beat the contract.  When partner gets the lead with the ace of clubs, he will switch to the queen of hearts; you told him by leading the nine that you have nothing in spades.


 
7. West
9 7 2
A 10 4 3
7 4 3
8 6 5
West

Pass
Pass

North
1 Club
3 Clubs
Pass
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
1 Diamond
3 NT

Now, because the bidding has indicated that the declarer or the dummy has a long and strong suit, it is usually best to lead from strength; lead the three of hearts from West hand above.  These passive leads - such as the nine of spades here - are more apt to be successful when the bidding has suggested that declarer will not be able to win five or six tricks in one long suit.


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8. West
8 5
K 5 2
A 8 5 3
Q 7 6 4
West

Pass
Pass

North

1 Spade
3 NT

East

Pass
All Pass
 

South
1 Heart
1 NT

When the chpice is between two four-card suits, one headed by an ace and the other headed by a king or queen, it is usally better to lead the suit without the ace.  The recommended lead here is the four of clubs.


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9. West
10 8 6 3
J 2
A Q 10 8
9 5 4
West

Pass

North

3 NT

East

All Pass

South
1 NT
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The experts would not lead a diamond from this four-card holding, but they would if it were a five-card suit ( A Q 10 8 x).  The popular choice would be eight of spades, breaking the rule that you lead low from four to an honor, because you do not want partner to return a spade.  (Note that leading the ten is wrong as it might waste a spade trick.)  Partner will be able to read that the eight is not your fourth-highest and therefore know that you do not want a spade return.  When partner does get the lead, the expected weak diamond holding in dummy should make it clear that he ought to switch to that suit; but if you led the three of spades, he would more likely to return a spade.
 
 

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These are nine examples from the book "How To Defend A Bridge Hand".
Buy the book, read it, and reread it.  It will improve your bridge game.

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