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Bidding for the Lead

When you stick your neck out to make a bid, you are aware you might get doubled and go for a big penalty (if partner has the wrong hand). So the upside has to be greater than this downside.

The main upside to making a bid on a light hand that does not expect to win the auction is to attract the best opening lead from partner. So, simply, the more you want partner to lead your suit, the more you should stick your neck out.

Would you stick your neck out after (1 ) - P - (1 ♠ ) - ? with the following hands (say Neither Vul):
 
Hand i Hand ii
K Q 7
J 9
J 9 7 4 3 2
♣ A 6
K J 6 2
9 6 2
K Q 10 9 3
♣ 8
  • Pass with (A); 
  • bid 2  with (B). 
  • The opponents are quite likely to end up in a Heart contract with partner on lead. In (A) you do not want a diamond lead; 
  • in (B) you do – much more than his likely alternative of a club (the other unbid suit).
   
Hand iii Hand iv
Q 3
9 7 3 2
K J 3 2
♣ K J 3
9 6 2
♥ J 7 3 2
4 2
♣ K Q J 9
  • Pass with (iii). What trash! ♠Q is waste-paper and the ♣/ KJs have dubious value. So why bid 4 ? If doubled, it will be a disaster. More likely, they’ll bid on to 4♠ but (a) you don’t want partner bidding on to 5 and (b) – this lesson’s theme – you don’t want a heart lead.
  • Hand (iv) is the really clever bit. Bid 4♣! Now partner will lead a club v 4♠. Don’t worry, you can run to 4 if doubled (and if partner bids on to 5♣, you can run to 5 in a double-fit).
South Deals
None Vul
K J 5 3
5 2
Q 5 2
K 10 9 2
Q 6
A Q 10 9 7
9 8 4
Q J 8
 
N
W   E
S
 
9 8
J 8 6 3
K J 10 6 3
7 5
 
A 10 7 4 2
K 4
A 7
A 6 4 3
East South West North
  1  2  3 
4 1 4  Pass Pass
Pass      
  1. The key – lead directing – bid. East expects partner to be on lead and is keen for a diamond. If 4  is doubled, he can run to 4  .

If East had kept quiet, West would have led  Q. Disaster – declarer runs it to  A and can finesse against  J. If East had bid 4  , West might have led  A. Disaster – declarer’s  K is promoted.

On  8 lead – thanks to East’s 4  bid – declarer won  A, cashed  KA felling  Q and led out  AK and a third club. But West won  Q, led over  9 to East, who won and switched to  3, West winning  AQ over  K4. Down one.

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