Exercise 4W17 by Richard Pavlicek
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.
This is the hard part, as there are no clear-cut answers. Some of the important guidelines are:
Lead partners 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.
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.
© 2016 Richard Pavlicek