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Local Tournament Begins Friday

Broward County bridge players will congregate at the Holiday Park Activity Center (730 N. Federal Hwy., Ft. Laud.) beginning Friday, February 22. The three-day duplicate bridge tournament is divided into many events, catering to players of all levels.

Sessions are held twice daily, 1:30 and 8:00 P.M., and anyone can participate. Special events have been included every session for novice players, so don’t let inexperience keep you away. Need a partner? No problem — the partnership desk will fix you up with someone else.

Today’s deal occurred in last year’s winter tournament and illustrates the problem — even for experts — of finding the best opening lead.

4 S S A K 8 7
H A 10 6 3
D 3 2
C J 10 8
Both Vul

West

Pass
All Pass


North
1 C
2 S


East
Pass
Pass


South
1 S
4 S
S 6 4 3
H Q 8 4
D Q 9 5
C K 6 5 3
Table S Q 2
H J 9 7
D J 10 8 7 4
C A 9 2
Lead: S 4 S J 10 9 5
H K 5 2
D A K 6
C Q 7 4

North-South were playing “five-card majors,” hence the one-club opening, and proceeded routinely to game in their eight-card spade fit.

This put West on lead and, rather than guess which side suit to break, he chose to lead a trump (the four-spot was selected because of the standard practice to high-low with three trumps). A trump lead has come to be known as the “expert’s lead,” since good players select it far more often that average players. It is usually a safe lead when made from a worthless holding, such as West’s.

Not this time. Left to his own devices, declarer would have tried the spade finesse (the percentage play with eight trumps), losing to East’s queen — down one. But with the trump lead, South properly reasoned that West would not be leading from the queen (who leads a trump from Q-x-x?) and banged down dummy’s top trumps to make his contract. Observe that any other lead would set the contract, since declarer would have no reason to abandon the normal percentage play in trumps.

Great for declarer. Unfortunate for West. Now, if I were West, I would have led a trump.

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© 2-17-1985 Richard Pavlicek