Exercise 4W69 Main

by Richard Pavlicek

The saucer landed and one of the tiny little men said, “Take me to your leader!”
I would, but I didn’t know who my leader was. -Jonathan Winters

As West, decide which card you would lead on each hand.

 1. None vul West North East South 9 2 1 NT A J 8 7 6 Pass 2 NT Pass 3 NT J 10 9 Pass Pass Pass K 7 6 3 NT

 2. N-S vul West North East South 8 6 2 NT A Q 9 2 Pass 3 NT Pass Pass Q 10 2 Pass K J 8 4 3 NT

 3. E-W vul West North East South Q 9 7 3 1 NT A K 3 Pass 3 NT Pass Pass Q 9 8 4 Pass 10 2 3 NT

 4. Both vul West North East South 8 7 6 4 2 1 NT J 10 Pass 2 NT Pass 3 NT 8 7 6 Pass Pass Pass J 10 9 3 NT

 5. None vul West North East South J 9 4 3 1 NT A 10 4 3 Pass 3 NT Pass Pass K J 2 Pass J 4 3 NT

 6. N-S vul West North East South Q J 2 1 NT K Q 3 Pass 2 NT Pass 3 NT 8 6 4 2 Pass Pass Pass Q J 8 3 NT

 7. E-W vul West North East South Q J 8 1 A 9 8 5 3 Pass 2 Pass 4 J 9 2 Pass Pass Pass 8 6 4

 8. Both vul West North East South A 8 2 1 K Q 6 2 Pass 3 Pass 4 5 Pass Pass Pass J 10 9 4 3 4

 9. None vul West North East South 6 4 1 K J 8 2 Pass 2 Pass 4 A Q 7 Pass Pass Pass J 10 4 2 4

 10. N-S vul West North East South K Q 10 1 3 Pass 2 Pass 4 J 9 7 6 3 Pass Pass Pass J 9 8 7 4

 11. E-W vul West North East South K 1 A 9 7 6 Pass 3 Pass 4 K 10 4 3 Pass Pass Pass Q 9 7 2 4

 12. Both vul West North East South A 3 2 1 Q 9 6 Pass 3 Pass 4 K 10 6 2 Pass Pass Pass Q 10 2 4

### Solutions and Explanations

 1. None vul West North East South 9 2 1 NT A J 8 7 6 Pass 2 NT Pass 3 NT J 10 9 Pass Pass Pass K 7 6 3 NT

Lead fourth-best from your long suit. Note that the 8-7-6 is not considered a “sequence” because it is not headed by an honor.

 2. N-S vul West North East South 8 6 2 NT A Q 9 2 Pass 3 NT Pass Pass Q 10 2 Pass K J 8 4 3 NT

With scattered strength and no five-card suit, make a passive lead. You rate to win more tricks if you wait for partner or declarer to lead your good suits.

 3. E-W vul West North East South Q 9 7 3 1 NT A K 3 Pass 3 NT Pass Pass Q 9 8 4 Pass 10 2 3 NT

Prefer a major suit to a minor suit when you have similar holdings in the two suits. Leading a heart from A-K-3 is more likely to help declarer establish tricks.

 4. Both vul West North East South 8 7 6 4 2 1 NT J 10 Pass 2 NT Pass 3 NT 8 7 6 Pass Pass Pass J 10 9 3 NT

With such a weak spade suit and no outside entry, your best strategy is to try to hit partner’s long suit. This is almost surely hearts on the bidding.

 5. None vul West North East South J 9 4 3 1 NT A 10 4 3 Pass 3 NT Pass Pass K J 2 Pass J 4 3 NT

There is no safe lead, but a spade is less likely to help declarer. The old myth, “Never lead from a jack,” holds no water in my view.

 6. N-S vul West North East South Q J 2 1 NT K Q 3 Pass 2 NT Pass 3 NT 8 6 4 2 Pass Pass Pass Q J 8 3 NT

Rather than guess which of your honor sequences to lead from, take the passive route. With stoppers in three suits you will regain the lead, then you can shift if appropriate.

 7. E-W vul West North East South Q J 8 1 A 9 8 5 3 Pass 2 Pass 4 J 9 2 Pass Pass Pass 8 6 4

This does not imply that doubletons are a “lead of choice.” It’s just that any other lead is very risky, so it is wise to be passive.

 8. Both vul West North East South A 8 2 1 K Q 6 2 Pass 3 Pass 4 5 Pass Pass Pass J 10 9 4 3 4

A singleton is an excellent lead, especially when you hold the ace of trumps. When you later win the A, you will try to get partner on lead to give you a diamond ruff.

 9. None vul West North East South 6 4 1 K J 8 2 Pass 2 Pass 4 A Q 7 Pass Pass Pass J 10 4 2 4

A low club would be the safest side-suit lead, but I wouldn’t want to risk even that. The trump lead is safest of all. Note that it is proper to lead low from a doubleton trump.

 10. N-S vul West North East South K Q 10 1 3 Pass 2 Pass 4 J 9 7 6 3 Pass Pass Pass J 9 8 7 4

You will almost surely win two trump tricks by default, so it is unwise to lead your singleton. With no clear-cut choice just lead your longest suit.

 11. E-W vul West North East South K 1 A 9 7 6 Pass 3 Pass 4 K 10 4 3 Pass Pass Pass Q 9 7 2 4

It is slightly safer to lead from a queen than a king or ace. Further, if your lead happens to give declarer three club tricks, it often turns out that it wouldn’t matter anyway.

 12. Both vul West North East South A 3 2 1 Q 9 6 Pass 3 Pass 4 K 10 6 2 Pass Pass Pass Q 10 2 4

Another difficult choice is best resolved by waiting. The trump lead is reasonably safe, and you can decide which side suit (if any) to lead later.