Book a Course

View all the latest courses going on at the bridge club and book yours now...
View Courses View Playing Schedule

Which card to switch to?

The opening lead and the first lead of each suit during the play have much in common. Say you (as East) have won the first trick and are switching suits, (almost certainly choosing the weakest suit in dummy).

  1.  Lead top of a sequence of two+ cards, where the higher is the ten or above.
  2. Lead low if you want your suit to be returned. Note that once dummy is tabled, you can lead away from an ace, not something you’d have done at Trick One.
  3. Lead high if you don’t want your suit returned. Note that if you do not want the suit led back, you must lead high even if your suit contains an honour.
North Deals
N-S Vul
J 9 7 5
K Q J 8
K 6
Q 10 6
Q
7 4 3 2
J 9 4 2
A 5 4 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
8 6
A 9 6
A Q 8 7 5
J 8 3
 
A K 10 4 3 2
10 5
10 3
K 9 7
West North East South
  1 NT Pass 4 
All pass      

 

What happened
East won West’s  7 (high for hate lead) with  A and, correctly seeing the need to put West back on play for a diamond lead through dummy’s  K, switched to a club. But he carelessly chose  3. Thinking that East wanted a club back, West won  A and returned a second club, necessary if the layout was:

North Deals
None Vul
J 9 7 5
K Q J 8
K 6
Q 10 6
Q
7 4 3 2
J 9 4 2
A 5 4 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
8 6
A 9 6
Q 10 8 7 5
K J 3
 
A K 10 4 3 2
10 5
A 3
9 8 7

Oh dear - declarer could win East’s second club, draw trumps, and run hearts, discarding both his diamonds. 11 tricks and game made plus one.

What should have happened
East reasoned correctly to return a club, hoping to put West on lead. But he should have selected  8 (key play), leading high for hate, because he did not want the suit led back. West would have won  A and had no alternative but to switch to diamonds (no other possibility looking at dummy). East would have beaten  K with  A and cashed  Q. Down one.

If you remember one thing...
If, during the play, you do not want partner to return the suit you are leading, lead a high spot card.

ARBC: 31 Parsons Green Lane, London SW6 4HH
Call NOW: 0207 471 4626