Main   Queries 9R73 by Richard Pavlicek  

Opening Leads

This page contains selected queries to “Ask Richard” related to opening leads, although discussion sometimes includes other topics. Presentation is reverse-chronological (most recent first). Queries and followups appear in this color. Richard’s replies are in black. To respect privacy and focus solely on bridge, names, greetings and personal messages have been removed.


Leading edgeJanuary 13, 2012 (9S17)

West

Pass
North

3 NT
East

All Pass
South
1 NT
None Vul


 
Trick
1 W
Lead
Y
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.


Lightner mysteryJune 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.


Manifest destinyMarch 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