February 2018 English Bridge
Declarer may have a two way guess, partner may
have the jack and you have just picked up the suit,
or all manner of bad things may happen.
(b) a heart: 10 marks. Not even close in my view.
This is the safest lead that you can think of from
your hand. If it finds partner with the queen or
something and declarer had a two way guess, well
so be it, but it is the best you can do.
(c) t5: 1 mark. In my opinion this is a terrible lead,
and I would rather lead any of the other suits than
this one. This could carve up all sorts of holdings
when declarer needed to play on the suit for tricks
and partner had holdings like J10xx, Q10xx, or
even something like K108x could get crushed.
Which shows I know nothing(!) as at the table it
was the only safe lead since dummy held AKJ stiff
and partner Qxxxx.
(d) ®3: 4 marks. For exactly the same reasons that
a spade is a poor lead. This could (and at the table
would) save the declarer a two way guess for your
queen, holding AJ10 opposite Kxx.
Pairs Bonus: a heart - 5 marks. This is especially
true at the Pairs game where stopping the
overtrick is as important as defeating the
The multi is going out of fashion in expert circles
but is still played a lot at club and county levels, so I
hope I can be forgiven for including a hand
involving it here. There are a number of reasons it is
going out of fashion in expert circles, but they
include the fact that on auctions like this, you do
not know which major partner has, so are leading
blind. What can we do in this case….?
Choose from: (a) ´2; (b) ™4 (c) t10; (d) ®2.
´ K 7 5 2
™ 10 7 4
t 10 9 5
® 10 5 2
South West North East
2NT Pass 3NT Pass2
1 Multi - partner has either a weak 2 in
either major or various strong hands.
2 Partner did not bid or double over 3NT so
has a weak 2 in either major.
(a) ´2: 10 marks. The usual rule of thumb is that you
lead your shorter major when you do not know
which one partner has, on the grounds that they
are much more likely to have that one. But look at
your hand here. Partner has at most a 10-count
and you have a 3-count. So the opponents have at
least 27 HCP between them. The only way you are
going to beat this contract is to set up partner's suit
and then for them to get in and cash it. If partner's
suit is hearts, either it will have to set up with one
lead and partner have an entry or set up with
declarer having two stops and partner having two
entries. That is long odds against. You need the
same thing in spades, but if partner's suit is spades
it is much more likely to set up with one lead. I
would never lead this at Pairs (see below), and
would probably lead a heart if I had, say, a 12 count
where I have much more chance of beating the
contract, but here the only realistic chance is that
partner actually has spades. This was rewarded at
the table when partner has ´Qxxxxx and an
outside entry declarer could not avoid.
(b) ™4: 7 marks. If I was not going to lead a spade,
then this is the obvious alternative, but a spade is
better for the reasons above.
(c) t10: 3 marks. Likely to give nothing away, but
what on earth is it going to achieve? You are not
beating this contract by playing passively.
(d) ®2: 1 mark. This is the kind of lead that gets
comments from partner like 'If 2t had shown
clubs or diamonds presumably you would have
led a spade…. '
Pairs Bonus: a heart - 5 marks. For the reasons
given above. You are highly unlikely to beat this
contract, so the object is not to give away cheap
tricks, which a spade lead will do unless partner
happens to have spades, which is simply less likely
than them having hearts. r
Why not take advantage of Alan's
firstname.lastname@example.org where the
lead has foxed you? Email the editor,
email@example.com and if suitable, Alan
would be delighted to use them.
SEND IN YOUR LEAD