October 2019 English Bridge
Hand 1 Hand 2
´ 10 8 5 4 ´ 5 2
™ A Q 5 4 ™ 9 8 7 3
t K J 9 t K 10 7
® Q 4 ® A 6 3 2
Hand 3 Hand 4
´ K 5 4 ´ 5 2
™ Q 10 ™ 9 8 7 3
t A 9 8 5 3 t K 10 7
® 10 8 6 ® 9 6 3 2
You might think it unlucky that partner has no
points in spades; you might think it unlucky that he
has no points at all; but if you had thought before
making your opening lead, you wouldn't have run
into such bad luck.
How many points do you have? 14 by my count.
And the opponents just bid to game which requires
25. How many points can partner have? One at
most. The reason we lead from our strong holdings
is to establish tricks, but how can we establish our
king and jack if partner has no help for us?
Leading from kings can give away tricks at the
best of times, and this is certainly the worst of times.
The spade lead doesn't just give away a trick, it also
tells declarer how to play the hand. After pocketing
a spade trick, declarer will know not to touch the
It isn't obvious how declarer will play from here,
but it is clear that he would have had a harder time
on a passive club lead. On a club lead, who knows
how he'll play? He might make, he might not, but
you won't have made it easy for him. All you can do
is lead passive and hope that tricks come your way.
The ®J is the right lead.
Every time you find yourself on lead, you should
consider what suits partner is likely to be long in
and how many points he will have. Once you figure
that out, the right lead will often be obvious. And if
it turns out that your incredibly well-reasoned lead
doesn't work, don't give up. There will be others
that made the same lead and you won't be in a bad
position until you give up.
TRY THESE ONES
W N E S
Pass 3NT All Pass
Hand 1. With 12 points, partner can have at most
three. A lead from hearts is too risky and we
should opt for a spade lead. If partner has length,
we might be able to establish the fourth spade
without conceding a trick, and a lead from four
small is unlikely to give away a trick.
Hand 2. Even though clubs is our best suit, our
major suit bias should pull us towards leading a
heart. Leads from ace to four can often be poor,
even in a major.
Hand 3. Our major suit bias can only pull us so far.
A diamond lead is standout. Ace to five is often a
very good lead.
Hand 4. Our major suit bias should push us
towards a heart, rather than a club, but a spade
lead is probably best. With only three points of
our own, partner is marked with a good hand and
a fair suit in spades since we are so short. It's not
unlikely that partner will hold something like
KJ987 a lead through dummy's holding could
work well. We must hope that partner reads our
´5 as from a weak holding. A glance at the
number of points in his own hand should steer
him on the right path. r
PREMIER GRAND MASTER
Andrew Petrie, Lancashire
on becoming a
Premier Grand Master
the English Bridge Union's highest rank,
requiring a minimum 1,500 Green Points