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Opening Lead

The single most important card in a deal of bridge, the one that affects the number of tricks both sides end up with more than any other by far, is the opening lead. It’s a unique card too, the only card played without a sight of dummy.

The very best lead, enabling you to have an all-important look at that dummy whilst retaining control and keeping all your options open, is the ace from an ace-king combination. Other top-of-a-sequence leads are good too (the higher up a suit, the better). They are King from King-Queen, Queen from Queen-Jack, Jack from Jack-ten; Ten from ten-nine (this is the lowest top-of-a-sequence lead, because the higher card needs to be an honour: the ten or above).

Exercise: What would you lead from these hands after the opponents have bid to 2♠ and no other suits were mentioned either by the opponents or by partner?
Hand A   Hand B   Hand C   Hand D  
♠ 8 6 4
A K 7 3
J 8 6 5
♣ Q 4
  ♠ J 7
J 6
K Q 8 7
♣ J 9 7 3 2
  ♠ A 4
K J 6 3
Q 7 6
♣ J 10 6 4
  ♠ 8 7 4
Q J 7 5
K 7 6
♣ A J 7


(a)   A - Ace from Ace-King is Andrew Favourite Lead (AFL).
(b)  K - denying the Ace and promissing the Queen (top of a sequence).
(c)  ♣ J - denying the Queen and promissing the Ten (top of a sequence).
(d)  Q - denying the King and promissing the Jack (top of a sequence).
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