Main   Exercise 4W17 by Richard Pavlicek  

Opening Leads

Choosing the opening lead is not an exact science. Even experts often disagree as to the best lead, which is a factor that makes bridge so exciting. On any given occasion, an average player might choose a better lead than a world champion! The purpose of this exercise is to provide insight into choosing good leads.

Choosing the Suit

This is the hard part, as there are no clear-cut answers. Some of the important guidelines are:

Lead partner’s bid suit.

Avoid leading an enemy-bid suit except with a safe sequence.

At notrump, lead your longest suit with five or more. Without five cards, make a safe lead.

At suit contracts, a singleton is good if you will benefit by a ruff. Otherwise, lead a long suit but avoid being an “ace grabber.”

A trump lead is wise when you have strength in the enemy suit, or as a safe passive lead.


Choosing the Card

Once you have chosen the suit, the proper card to lead is almost automatic. The important rules are:

Lead the king from A-K.

Lead the top of a sequence if it is solid (J-10-9-2), almost solid (J-10-8-2), interior (K-J-10-2) or only three cards (J-10-2).

Lead high from any doubleton.

Lead high from three small cards at notrump; low at a suit bid.

Lead the fourth best card from a four card or longer suit.

Note: Leading the trump suit is a special case and the above rules may not apply.

TopMain

1. West

Pass
Pass
North

3 NT
East

Pass
South
1 NT
Pass
S A Q 8 2
H Q 2
D 8 6 4
C K J 9 3
Table

Your lead:

2. West

Pass
Pass
North

3 NT
East

Pass
South
2 NT
Pass
S Q 10 9 7 2
H 2
D 4 3
C A 10 9 7 2
Table

Your lead:

3. West

Pass
Pass
North

2 C
2 NT
East

Pass
All Pass
South
1 NT
2 D
S K 10 8 2
H 10 8 4 2
D A 10 8 2
C 2
Table

Your lead:

4. West

Pass
Pass
North

2 NT
Pass
East
1 H
Pass
Pass
South
1 NT
3 NT
S Q 8 5
H 5
D J 6 5 4 3
C J 10 4 2
Table

Your lead:

5. West

Pass
North
1 S
Pass
East
Pass
Pass
South
1 NT
S A Q 9 6 2
H J 3
D 10 9 4
C K J 3
Table

Your lead:

TopMain

6. West

Pass
Pass
North

2 S
Pass
East

Pass
Pass
South
1 S
4 S
S A K 2
H 10 2
D Q J 2
C J 9 8 7 4
Table

Your lead:

7. West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
North

1 NT
3 H
East

Pass
Pass
South
1 S
2 H
4 H
S K Q 10 7
H 8 2
D J 10 8 4
C A 8 3
Table

Your lead:

8. West

1 S
Pass
North

2 H
East

Pass
South
1 H
Pass
S A Q 10 9 4
H K 2
D 8 6 4
C Q 8 4
Table

Your lead:

9. West

Pass
Pass
North

1 NT
Pass
East

Pass
Pass
South
1 H
4 H
S 10 9 4 3
H K J 9
D 2
C A 8 6 5 2
Table

Your lead:

10. West

1 S
4 S
North

3 D
5 D
East

3 S
All Pass
South
1 D
4 D
S K Q 10 8 4
H J 10 9 4 3
D A 5
C J
Table

Your lead:

TopMain

© 2016 Richard Pavlicek