Main   Queries 9R73 by Richard Pavlicek  

Opening Leads

This page contains selected queries to “Ask Richard” related to opening leads, although discussion may include other topics. Presentation is reverse-chronological. To respect privacy and focus solely on bridge, names, greetings and personal messages have been removed.

Queries (including follow-up replies if any) are shown in this color.


1. Leading edge January 13, 2012 (9S17)

West

Pass
North

3 NT
East

All Pass
South
1 NT
None Vul


 
Trick
1 W
Lead
?
S A K 2
H 10 9 7 3
D J 9 8 2
C J 3
Table


 

What would you lead against 3 NT, and how strongly do you feel about it?

Not even close; the S K (or ace depending on agreements).

I once did a double-dummy simulation on almost the same situation, whether to lead from S A-K-x or H 10-9-8-7, and was surprised to see the S K win by a wide margin. The number of quick sets vastly outnumbered the tempo/trick losses allowing 3 NT to make. At matchpoints, judged by average tricks (ignoring make/set) it was close, but the S K still had a slight edge. Weakening the hearts to 10-9-7-3 should make the S K an even bigger winner.

This deal was played at four tables, and all defenders (including me) led the H 10. Partner had S Q-x-x-x-x, so the S K was indeed the winning lead. I was concerned about conceding a tempo when I decided against the S K.


2. Lightner mystery June 28, 2011 (9RA8)

West
1 D
4 D
Pass
Pass
All Pass
North
1 H
4 H
Pass
Pass
East
Pass
5 D
Dbl
7 D
South
2 D
6 S
Rdbl
7 S
N-S Vul


 
S 4
H K 6 2
D A K Q 8 5 4 3 2
C 4
Table


 

What should West lead? And is it clear-cut?

Clear-cut? When was the last time your partner doubled six but passed when they went to seven? Nothing is clear on auctions like this. I suspect partner’s double was Lightner asking for a heart lead (dummy’s suit), but if void he would probably double 7 S to reaffirm it. Maybe he has the H A and the N-S hands are S x H Q-J-10-9-x-x D x C K-J-x-x-x opposite S A-K-Q-J-x-x-x-x H x C A-Q-x-x. Or maybe I’m dreaming, but I lead a heart.

I do not like West’s 4 D bid — too easy, as 95 percent of the time it’s just a transfer to the opponents’ comfortable home in four of a major. Much better is five diamonds to apply some pressure.


3. Manifest destiny March 23, 2011 (9R73)

West

Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
North
Pass
2 D
3 H
4 S
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
2 C
2 H
3 S
7 H
Both Vul S A 8 6 2
H Q 10 4 3
D 9 7 4
C J 6
S 10 7
H 8 2
D Q 8 6 5
C K Q 7 4 2
TableS J 9 4 3
H 5
D J 10 2
C 10 9 8 5 3
S K Q 5
H A K J 9 7 6
D A K 3
C A

What should West lead?

The C K is a standout, but I suppose a few experts might lead a trump. Either allows the grand to make. Only a diamond lead defeats it by breaking up the double squeeze, but I would be suspicious of anyone who chose that at the table.


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© 2012 Richard Pavlicek