West North East South
Pass 1´ Pass 1NT
Pass 2t1 Pass 2™2
Pass 4™ All Pass
1 Game-forcing enquiry; 2 Five hearts.
Pick your lead out of: (a) a spade; (b) ™5; (c)
t4; (d) ®2.
On different layouts anything could be right.
What is best?
(a) A spade: 10 marks. With declarer holding
a balanced hand and dummy possibly being
interested in a 5-3 spade fit, it is entirely
possible that partner is very short in spades. So
if you lead one you may be able to give partner
a ruff when you get in with the ™K. This is
what happened and was the only lead to beat
the contract (well, partner could win his ace
and switch to his singleton). This well reasoned
lead was found by Manchester player Annie
Thornton playing against me in the Gazette
Trophy qualifier for Manchester.
(b) A heart: 1 mark. All I can say is why? One
mark for imagination.
(c) t4: 5 marks. Declarer is balanced and often
dummy will be fairly balanced. There fore
leading a diamond could be wrong in all sorts
of ways, so I do not like this lead much.
(d) ®2: 7 marks. An attempt to set up any tricks
you may have in the minors without, you hope,
blowing a trick in the suit. But it may well carve
up partner's hold ing so it is not guaranteed.
´ 9 8 6 3 2
™ K 5
t K 8 4
® 10 7 2
West North East South
1™ Pass 1´
Pass 2® Pass 3NT
Pick your lead out of: (a) ´4; (b) a heart; (c)
(a) ´4: 3 marks. Fourth highest of your longest
and strongest. But it is straight round into
declarer's suit and even if you can set the suit
up, it is not easy for you get in and cash it. This
is far more likely simply to be giving a trick
(b) A heart: 3 marks. This is as bad. Why are
you leading dummy's five-card suit (at least)
particularly when you have no chance at all of
setting up any tricks in it that were not coming
to partner already?
(c) tK: 5 marks. Yes, OK, to beat this con tract
you are going to need to find partner with a lot
of tricks and diamonds are the unbid suit. But
is it really likely that partner will have
diamonds good enough that you need to do
this? Still, I would rather lead this than either
major. But I would much rather lead this:
(d) ®9: 10 marks. It is often right to lead
dummy's second suit against no-trumps,
particularly if you don't have an attractive
fourth-suit lead. The opponents have not
tried to play in this suit, so it is possible
partner has a few. It combines some attempt
to set up tricks with less danger of blowing
´ K 10 7 4 2
™ 6 4 3 2
t K 2
® 9 5
West North East South
1´ Pass 2®
Pass 2™ Pass 3t1
Pass 4® Pass 4™
Pass 6® All Pass
1 Fourth Suit Forcing
Pick your lead out of: (a) ´3; (b) ™8; (c) tA;
(d) a club.
This hand was sent to me by reader John
Liebeschuetz and I am grateful to him for an
excellent problem. The opposition bidding has
been revealing and we can be certain that
opener has a 5-4-1-3 shape or something very
similar and that responder has a game-forcing
hand with a high heart card. What can we do to
beat this slam?
(a) ´3: 3 marks. An attempt to give partner a
ruff. But it is quite likely that it is declarer that is
short in spades and this may allow him a finesse
at no cost. It is thus dangerous in several ways.
(b) ™8: 10 marks. Often when you know
dummy is short in a suit it is right to lead trumps
to cut down the ruffs. Leading your singleton
threatens a ruff, forcing declarer to draw trumps
and so ruin his own ruffs. The only time this will
not work is if declarer has the tK as then you
cannot get partner on lead to give you the ruff.
This easily looks the best chance though.
(c) tA: 2 marks. While I am a huge fan of
leading aces against slams here all the
indications are that it is the wrong thing to do.
It is very likely declarer will want to ruff
diamonds so why help? It is also unlikely that
declarer will have enough pitches on dummy to
discard all the diamonds from her hand
(obviously the singleton cannot be discarded
from dummy) and if she does then I cannot see
you beating the hand anyway.
(d) A club: 7 marks. This is what I would have
led if I had not had a singleton. Try and cut
down the ruffs. When you come in with the tA
you can lead another trump and there will be
only one diamond ruff. Alas, declarer had five
club tricks, four heart tricks and the ´A-K so
only needed one diamond ruff. So only the ™8
lead beat the slam this time. r
´ Q 10 4 3 2
t A J 8 5
® 10 7 6
22 English Bridge August 2014 www.ebu.co.uk
by Alan Mould
Prize Leads Quiz
Answers to June 2014 Problems
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS:
Master: Stewart Harrison, Open: Geoff Foster,