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Opening lead: versus Trumps (1)

Good Leads: The choice of opening lead decides the fate of many contracts – about half of all contracts that start life in the balance. Sometimes the defence have to win their tricks quickly – when dummy has a long strong suit. Sometimes the defence can sit back and play a waiting game. It’s hard to know which without a sight of dummy, so if you are lucky enough to have an ace-king combination, you should always lead the ace (top of a sequence) and have a look at the dummy. Then you can decide what to do with more information. Ace-from ace-king is most decidedly Andrew’s favourite lead: a 10/10 lead.

Other good leads (9/10) include leading the king from king-queen. This is good because you are happy if the king forces out the opposing ace, as this promotes your queen; you are even happier if your king wins the trick, for now it looks like partner holds the ace. The other 9/10 lead is a singleton: you void yourself in the hope of being able to trump a further round of the suit.

Exercise: After the unrevealing auction by the opponents of 1-4, what would you lead from:

  ♠ 9 6 3
A K 8 3
J 8 4 3 2

You have a singleton heart, yet that is not the best lead. Better is to leadA to have a free look at dummy. You can always switch to 9 should a look at dummy make that attractive. Or cash K. Or even switch to a club. You won’t know until you see dummy and that’s why A is best: it keeps all your options open.

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