More Opening Leads from Chapter 1, Part 5 (S535c)
From Chapter 1 - "Opening Leads", page 15
From the book How To Defend A Bridge
Study the bidding carefully and
then choose your opening
Sometimes your partner can help
you make the winning opening lead by a "lead- directing double."
Here are three illustrations showing what you should lead when your partner
has made a lead-directing double in a notrump contract.
North's two-clubs bid was artificial
- the Stayman Convention. Your partner's double indicated he had
length and strength in the club suit and wants you to lead that suit.
Your correct lead is the nine of clubs. Here is a possible
layout where it takes a club lead to beat the contract:
Declarer should be allowed to win the first trick with the king of clubs. When East gets the lead with the ace of diamonds, he can run four club tricks and beat the contract. Note that without partner's double, your normal lead would be the ineffective queen of hearts.
The double of any artificial bid is a lead-directing double. This applies in trump contracts as well as in notrump contracts.
When you and your partner have never
bid, the double of any notrump contract - from one notrump through seven
notrump - calls for the lead of the first suit bid by the dummy.
So here you must lead the seven of hearts. Suppose this is
the full deal:
The heart lead is the killer. With careful defense, the contract cannot be made. Note that without the double the normal lead is the four of spades. This gives declarer an extra spade trick and the time he needs to develope his nine tricks.
This is a repeat of hand #4 of the
previous set of hands, with which I recommended that you lead the jack
of spades. The bidding here is the same except your partner doubles
the final contract. If you have never entered the auction and your
partner doubles a notrump contract after he has bid a suit, it is a command
for you to lead his suit. Lead the seven of clubs. These
might be the four hands:
As you can see, it takes a club lead to set the contract.
Note that if your partner doubles
a notrump contract after you (the opening leader) have bid a suit,
he wants your suit led; this applies even if your partner or dummy
have bid a suit.
Passive Leads Versus Trump Contracts
In the next five deals you are looking
for the safest possible lead.
The jack of clubs is the best opening lead because it is the least likely to give away a trick. The queen of hearts is a tempting choice, but dangerous. For example, dummy may have K 10 x and declarer A x x, in which case declarer can win a third heart trick by winning the first trick with the ace and then finessing the ten. If you had Q J 10, the queen of hearts would be the indicated lead.
This time each suit has an unguarded honor card; there is no good lead. A trump lead from Q x x, or a spade from A J x x, should be ruled out, so the unenviable choice is between clubs and diamonds. Lead the four of diamonds, or the two of clubs.
Here again a passive lead is indicated, and a trump appears to be the safest choice. Lead the ten of spades.
Lead the queen of hearts. Although you generally choose a lead from among the suits that your opponent did not bid, it is okay to lead their suit if you have a four-card sequence, especially when there is no good alternative.
While we're at it, let me point out that a singleton trump is usually a poor choice for an opening lead; it will finesse your partner out of a potential trick from a variety of holdings.
In this case, you wish you did not
have to make an opening lead. A passive lead is indicated, but the
opponents have bid all four suits and every lead looks like it might blow
a trick. It is usally better to lead from a suit bid by dummy, rather
than a suit bid by declarer, and leading from the queen-jack of hearts
looks better than leading from the queen of clubs. Whether you should
lead the queen or fourth-highest from Q J x x is debatable, but when dummy
has bid the suit you should lead fourth-highest. So lead the four
of hearts. Suppose these are the four hands:
Declarer has four possible losers
(two spades, one diamond and a club) and can make his contract no matter
what you lead, but the low-heart lead is more likely than any other to
cause declarer to choose a losing line of play. If you lead the queen
of hearts, declarer, assuming you have lead from the queen- jack, will
eventually finesse the ten so he can discard his losing club. True,
he could finesse the ten of hearts at trick one, but that is a rediculous
play when he has so many better chances. Declarer will win the first
trick with the ace or king of hearts; after which there is a good chance
he will be set.
These are eight examples from the
book "How To Defend A Bridge Hand".