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Subj:.....Still More Opening Leads from Chapter 1 #3 (S533c)
          From Chapter 1 - "Opening Leads", page 9

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
Q 9 5 3
6 4
Q 9 7 6
K 10 8
West

Pass

North

3 NT

East
Pass
All Pass
South
1 NT

Lead the three of spades.  With a close choice of suits to lead, prefer a major suit rather than a minor suit.  Raising one notrump to three notrump is common practice with length in the minor suits, but rare with a four-card or longer major suit.  So the dummy is more likely to have length and strength in diamonds than spades.


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

Pass
Pass
Pass

North

1 Heart
2 NT
Pass

East

Pass
Pass
Pass

South
1 Club
1 NT
3 NT

Lead the ten of diamonds.  This lead contradicts the theory in the last hand - with relative equal suits, lead the major rather than the minor - but consider what was learned from the bidding.  In view of your weak hand and the opponents sluggish bidding, partner must have a pretty good hand: about 12 or 13 high-card points.  Why didn't he bid over one heart.  With a reasonably good spade suit he probably would have bid one spade.  But you need a better hand to overcall at the two-level, so he more likely to have passed with good diamonds than good spades.


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

Pass
Pass
 

North

2 NT
Pass
 

East

Pass
Pass
 

South
1 NT
3 NT

Lead the jack of hearts.  Leading your own long suit seems hopeless because you have no reentry cards.  So your short-suit lead is a stab at finding partner's long suit.  The jack-ten makes hearts a better choice than spades.  If you had a couple of high cards so that you could regain the lead, then the four of diamonds would be the best choice.


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

Pass
Pass
 

North
1 Club
1 Spade
Pass
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
1 Heart
1 NT

Lead the jack of diamonds.  Granted, an ugly choice, but it is the least of evils.  Leading a suit bid by the opponents from any of your honor holding is even less attractive.


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

Pass
Pass

North
1 Club
1 Spade
Pass
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
1 Heart
1 NT

Lead the jack of diamonds.  Although a spade lead could work out well if partner has an honor (or nine-spot), it is risky to lead from Q J 10 x when
dummy has bid the suit.  If the suit divides dummy  K 9 8 x and declarer
A x, the queen-of-spades lead gives declarer a third spade trick; and there are other combinations where the same would be true.  If you did not have a good alternative - to lead the jack from  J 10 9 - the queen of spades would be a reasonable choice, even though it risks giving declarer an extra spade trick.


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

Pass
Pass

North

2 Clubs
3 NT
 

East

Pass
All Pass

South
1 NT
2 Hearts

 

Lead the two of diamonds.  Dummy's two-club bid was Stayman, which when followed by three notrump shows at least one four-card major suit.  Since he did not raise hearts, he must have four spades.  Hence the decision to lead a diamond instead of a spade.


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

Pass
Pass

North

2 Clubs
3 NT

East

Pass
All Pass

South
1 NT
2 Hearts

Lead the six of hearts, in spite of the fact that declarer has bid the suit.  Dummy bid three notrump after his partner bid hearts, so he might have a singleton.  The best chance to beat the contract is to find partner with a good heart holding - such as  J 9 x.


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

Pass
Pass

North

1 Spade
3 NT

East

Pass
All Pass
 

South
1 Club
2 NT

Lead the six of clubs.  This is a gambling lead since South bid clubs, but it is not uncommon to bid one club with a weak three - or four - card suit.  If you are lucky, partner will have the ace or queer of clubs.  Since a club lead is apt to give declarer an overtrick, it is a doubtful choice at duplicate bridge; but I would lead a club anyway.


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

Pass
Pass

North

1 Spade
3 NT

East

Pass
All Pass

South
1 Heart
1 NT

This is the same hand as #8 above, but with the heart and club suits switched.  Opening bids of one of a major suit are rarely made without a substantial suit, so it is inadvisable to lead from K J 9 6 3 this time.  Lead the eight of clubs, although the four of diamonds or the seven of spades are conceivable choices.
 
 

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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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