Main     Study 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 study is to provide some 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 bids.
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
North

1 NT
3 H
East

Pass
Pass
South
1 S
2 H
4 H (AP)

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

Answers

1.D 8

2.S 10

3.H 2

4.H 5

5.D 10

6.C 7

7.H 2

8.D 4

9.S 3

10.C J

TopMain

© 2013 Richard Pavlicek