What do you lead - Answers?

by Chris Jagger

1. s765 hQ7542 dA87 cAJ. P-1c-P-1s, P-4s.

A low heart. This is a normal every day sort of problem, and it seems that dummy is going to be pretty strong, possibly with lots of club tricks once he has knocked out the ace of clubs. Thus we wish to set up a heart trick.

2. sA862 h65 dAQJ105 c102. 1h, P-2NT-P-3h, P-4c-P-4h.
The 2NT bid was Baron (showing 16+ balanced), and 4c was a cuebid.

Ace of diamonds (or a low spade). Opponents are making a slam try here, and it seems that partner won't have many values. Thus we would like to cash our tricks before they go away. The ace of diamonds achieves this aim and leaves us open to give declarer a guess in spades if dummy has KJ, and also give partner some diamond ruffs. A low spade might be right to put partner in for a diamond through should declarer have the king, and also figures to be right if partner has the queen and dummy KJ.

3. sA5 hK1065 d8542 cAK3. 1c, P-1h-P-1s, P-2c.

Ace of clubs. This seems to stand out a mile. It gives us a good chance to look at dummy and decide what to do next (which is one of the reasons why an AK lead is so attractive generally), which may well be to draw trumps.

4. sA10852 h1042 dA108 c87. 1h, P-2c-P-2d, P-3h-P-4h.

A low heart. When oppo have bid like this, it is normal to lead the unbid suit. However, this is less attractive with the ace, and there doesn't seem to be any rush to cash it, as any club honours are sitting well for our side. If declarer cashes twelve tricks in hearts and clubs, blame me!

5. sJ10 hKJ3 d7532 c10983. P-1d-P-1s, P-4c-X-4s, P-5c-X-P, P-5d-P-5s, P-6s.
The 4c bid was showing a singleton or void.

A spade. Generally speaking when opponents bid a slam you should not lead a trump, unless you have a low opinion of them, as they should have twelve tricks, so it is a question of trying to take your two tricks before they take their twelve. A second rule is that if partner makes a lead directional double, you should usually follow his advice. After all, maybe dummy is psyching with two low clubs, and it would be incredibly embarrassing not to cash them! The normal attacking lead against this slam would be a heart, but when partner doubles clubs twice, not only is he suggesting he wants a club, but also that he definitely doesn't want a heart. If partner has a club to cash, it seems that we can cash it later, thus I recommend a safe trump lead, not giving anything away, and making declarer work for his money. The actual hand was AQxx Axxx AKQ10x -, and declarer Kxxx Qx Jx Kxxxx. Thus a club lead gave a vital entry so that declarer could ruff two clubs, whilst a heart lead gave up an overtrick.