18 English Bridge December 2019 www.ebu.co.uk
´ 6 4 3
™ K J 8
t A 10 7 5 4
® Q 6
W N E S
Pass 3´ Pass 4´
´ A Q 6
™ 8 5
t Q 8 6 4
® Q 7 5 2
W N E S
Pass 2®1 Pass 2™
Pass 4™ All Pass
efence is still a difficult subject which
might be surprising since we had such a
good look at leads against no trumps last
issue. If you recall, we considered which suits were
likely to establish tricks for us and which were least
likely to give a trick away, and much of the same
logic can be applied to suit contracts. But with the
introduction of a trump suit comes another
consideration: trumps themselves.
The trump suit is the boss suit and likely to be
declarer's best, so you aren't likely to establish any
tricks by leading one. But that doesn't mean you
never should. A trump can often be a very safe lead.
What do you lead here? Leads against Suit Contracts
Crocs on Defence
by Stephen Kennedy
There are a couple of suits we can rule out
immediately. Against no trumps, a diamond lead
would be stand out, but underleading aces against
suit contracts is dangerous. If declarer has a
singleton, you might allow him to score his king and
never score a single trick yourself.
Underleads of kings are also less appealing
against suits. You risk giving away a trick to
declarer's queen without the chance to establish
multiple tricks since declarer will eventually ruff.
And leading from both the king and jack is just far
too likely to give away a trick, so a heart is no good
The ®Q could work well. Partner could hold an
honour and you might score a ruff. But that's not
very likely since partner shouldn't have many
points, and it isn't difficult to see how the ®Q could
cost a trick. Leads from queens are usually safe but
leading unsupported honours is always risky.
And that leaves us with one suit left to consider. A
trump lead won't ever establish a trick for your side
but that's okay. A trump lead is usually safe and
because you aren't underleading any honours, it
won't give a trick away.
That said, trump leads aren't always safe. What
would you lead here?
A spade lead can be ruled out immediately, and
with an equal choice in the minors, you might elect
for a safe trump lead. But is it so safe? It's true that
you are unlikely to give away a trick when leading
from nothing but that isn't the case here. On this
auction, partner should have three trumps. What if
he has Qxx? Declarer will have to find the trump
queen to avoid a loser. What if partner has AJx?
Declarer will have to find the trump jack to avoid
I'm sure you can see what I'm getting at. Trumps
is declarer's key suit, so he'll probably have a
decision to make. Don't make it for him. A trump
lead will be safe when partner doesn't have a good
holding but will make life easy for declarer
whenever he does. I would pick between one of the
minors. Leading away from a queen isn't so bad.
A trump lead was much safer on the previous
example because we had three trumps, leaving a
maximum of two for partner, and because the
opponents might have had nine trumps, making a
trump lead very safe.
I've talked a lot about how safe trump leads are,
but that isn't the only reason to lead one. If declarer
has chosen to play in a trump suit, he probably
plans to use the trump suit to its best advantage.
And that means ruffing things. A trump lead could
get in the way of that.