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Andrew’s favourite lead

Against a trump contract the best opening leads are singletons or sequences of two or more touching high cards in a suit (lead the top card). Generally the singleton is a more dynamic choice but when the sequence is ace-king, the latter choice is advisable. Why?

You retain the lead after dummy is revealed and can continue or switch to your singleton as seems fit. If you lead your singleton you are likely to lose the lead and so cannot switch to the ace-king suit.

North Deals
N-S Vul
J 8 6
10 8 4
A J 3 2
A Q 9
A K 5 4
A 6 5
K 10 8 6 4
W   E
Q 9 7
7 3
10 9 8 5
J 7 5 2
10 3 2
K Q J 9 2
K Q 7 6
West North East South
  1 N Pass 3 
Pass 4  Pass Pass
4  by South


West led  4 and declarer surveyed the mediocre dummy. With four obvious losers (three ♠s and  A) as soon as he lost the lead, he needed to risk the ♣ finesse. He won  Q and played ♣ 3 to ♣ 4 and ♣ Q. When ♣ Q won, he cashed ♣ A, discarding ♠ 2 and led  10, losing to West’s  A. West cashed ♠ AK - had he had the courage to have led a low ♠ his partner could have won ♠ Q and played a second for him to trump; he then led ♠ 4 to ♠ Q and declarer trumped. Declarer drew the remaining trumps and cashed his s. Ten tricks.

West should have led ♠ A - implying ♠ K. East would have encouraged by playing ♠ 9 and so West would continue with ♠ K and ♠ 4 to East’s ♠ Q. West’s  A would take the setting trick.

ANDREW’S TIP: Defending a trump contract, generally lead ace from ace-king in preference to any alternative opening lead - including a singleton.

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