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Subj:.....Still More Opening Leads from Chapter 1, Part 7 (S537c)
..........From Chapter 1 - "Opening Leads", page 24

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.
 

Short-Suit Leads

Leading a singleton is often a good choice because you may gain a trick by ruffing.  But singleton leads are not always good;  they sometimes expose your partner's holding in the suit and help declarer.  The best time to lead a singleton is when you have the right trump holding and there is a good chance that your partner will be able to get th lead and give you the ruff.  The next three illustrations show times when it is inadvisable to lead a singleton.
 
1. West
7
K Q 10
10 9 8 5
9 6 4 3 2
West

Pass
Pass

North

3 Hearts
Pass

East

Pass
Pass

South
1 Heart
4 Hearts

Lead the ten of diamonds.  You should not lead the singleton spade because you have natural trump tricks.  The seven-of-spades lead would be attractive if your heart holdings were A x x, K x x, x x x or other trump holdings where you would gain a trick by ruffing.


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

Pass
Pass

North

3 Hearts
Pass

East

Pass
Pass

South
1 Heart
4 Hearts

Lead the jack of spades.  Do not lead the singleton diamond, even though you have the ideal trump holding.  One important thing to remember about leading a short suit: You will not get a ruff unless your partner can get the lead; the declarer certainly is not going to lead the suit for you.  In view of the opponents' strong bidding and your array of high cards, it is unlikely that your partner has an entry card.  Since the singleton lead may help declarer (by exposing your partner's diamond holding), and it is unlikely that you will be able to get your partner on lead, the jack of spades is the attractive lead.


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

Pass
Pass

North

2 Spade
Pass

East

Pass
Pass

South
1 Spade
4 Spade

Leading a singleton king (or queen) sometimes works out well, but it is more likely to cost a trick than to gain one.  In this case a passive lead looks best, so lead the five of spades (or any spade).


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

Pass
Pass

North

3 Hearts
Pass

East

Pass
Pass

South
1 Heart
4 Hearts

Lead the eight of diamonds.  Finally, the right hand to lead a singleton for three reasons:

1. You have the perfect trump holding; if declarer wins the first trick, you will regain the lead with the ace of hearts before he can draw your trumps and will get a second chance to put partner on lean and obtain your ruff.

2. Your hand is not too strong and there is a likelihood that partner will have a quick entry card.

3. Your singleton is not the king or queen.


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

Pass
Pass

North

3 Hearts
Pass

East

Pass
Pass

South
1 Heart
4 Hearts

Lead the king of spades.  Although not as promising as leading a singleton, leading a doubleton king, doubleton ace, or even a worthless doubleton may enable you to get a ruff.  In this case you have a very weak hand and the opponents' bidding was very strong; it seems unlikely that the contract can be set with passive defense.

Aside from getting a ruff, partner may have other good spade holdings that will gain a trick if you lead the king of spades; but it is still a risky choice and more likely to cost a trick than to gain a trick.  Leading the king of spades is a good gamble because the extra trick declarer may gain figures to be an overtrick - rather than the one he needs to make his contract - while the trick you gain may be the one that beats the contract.

Finally, note that the king-of-spades lead is a doubtful choice at duplicate bridge, where overtricks are much more important.


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

Pass
Pass

North

2 Clubs
4 Spades

East

Pass
All Pass

South
1 NT
2 Spades

With three low trumps and a relatively weak hand the eight of diamonds appears to be a good lead.
 
 

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These are six 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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