Page 0034



small cards

Sandra Landy is to get the final contract one down, if that The table below shows the lead chosen if

it is at all possible. Obviously, more down is your suit is headed by an honour (ace, king,

better, but the most important thing is to queen, jack or ten). Note the card to lead

IN my previous articles I have written beat the contract whenever it can be when the top card is a ten instead of a nine.

about leading aces and kings against no- beaten. Until you lead a card, you haven’t

trumps. While it’s nice to have those made a mistake in the play, so take time to


honour cards to lead, far more often you think about the auction and what it has

have to choose the lead from a collection told you. 10 6 10 Top card with a doubleton

of small cards.

You need to have an agreement with First choose the suit and then 10 9 2 10 Top of a mini-sequence

partner about which small card you lead in pick the card to lead 10 6 2 2 Low card from three to an

different circumstances. Probably the com- honour

monest lead is fourth highest of your Consider each of the four suits in turn and 10 5 4 3

longest suit (more on that in future). It was why it might be best to lead that suit. 10 9 5 3 2 3 Fourth-highest with an

in use in whist and similar games long Having chosen the suit, decide which card honour

before bridge was invented. But why fourth in that suit to lead. You and your partner

highest? Why not the smallest card you need agreements on the card you would 10 9 8 3 10 Top of a sequence headed

hold in the suit, be it fourth, fifth or sixth? lead from various holdings, for instance by an honour

The reason for that and similar agreements which card do you lead from suits where

is that you can only communicate with you have no honour? In the table below, I

partner by the cards you play and the more have listed the possible holdings you might Make up your own lead table with your

information partner has, the better he can have in the suit you decide to lead. You partner if you don’t like my suggestions.

defend. Every lead carries a message. might think which small card you choose

In a recent class, a student was on lead doesn’t matter, but whichever card you lead A test for you

against 6´. Rightly she decided to lead a sends a message to partner. So with no

heart, where her holding was ™A-K-6-3. honour in a suit, you lead the top card from You are West, on lead after four different

When the ™3 hit the table, my jaw two, the middle card from three (MUD) auctions to 4´. There isn’t one right lead in

dropped. She must have seen my and second highest from four or more all cases. Your lead may well be different,

astonishment as she said: ‘Don’t you lead small cards. You are trying to tell partner depending on how opponents reached the

fourth highest?’ After a bit of a chat she the number of cards and the strength you final contract and whether partner called.

realised that while the ™3 could be a good hold in the suit led, so that she can judge,

choice against 3NT, it wasn’t the best card having seen your lead and the cards in

to lead against a spade slam. So while you dummy, what declarer’s cards might be. ´ 10 8 4

read this article, always remember that ™ Q 10 6 3 2

there are some occasions when the rules t Q42


that I suggest just don’t apply. ® 97

92 9 Top of a doubleton

The opening lead

963 6 MUD, Middle from three Auction 1

Choosing the opening lead is one of the small (middle-up-down) West North East South

most difficult aspects of bridge. Since the Play the 9 on the second 1´

opening lead is the only card played while round Pass 4´

you can’t see dummy, it requires a 9653

Sherlock Holmes to analyse the problem, 96532 6 Lead second highest with

Auction 2

consider all the alternatives, remember all length but no strength

West North East South

our agreements and then put the right Play the 3 on the second

card on the table. Always stop and think round

Pass 2® Pass 2t

before you lead. Remember, our main aim Pass 2´ Pass 4´

34 English Bridge April 2011


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