Lead Direction

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Finding the right opening lead is a hit-and-miss affair, so we must not …

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Lead Direction by Wednesday.com 

Finding the right opening lead is a hit-and-miss affair, so we must not miss opportunities in the bidding to point Partner in the right direction.

E-W Vul

 Q 9 2  8 7  10 8 2  A K Q 10 7

West North East South
  Pass ??  
       

 East’s hand does not pass any of the usual criteria for an opening bid … it doesn’t have 12 HCP … nor does it pass the Rule of 20 … nor is it healthily endowed with quick tricks.  But the hand does contain magnificent Clubs, and a suit that good really needs to be bid.  Imagine how you would feel if you passed this hand and then heard the opponents bid 1-2-4.  Are you confident that Partner will find a Club lead?  We wouldn’t be!


E-W Vul

 Q 5 3 A K 8 2 8 7 3 K 9 6

West North East South
  Pass 1 ??
       

 “Law of Total Tricks” purists may strenuously object, but over 1, we suggest that South overcalls 1 (and we would also suggest a 1 opening if East had passed).  Hearts are the suit that South wants led in the quite likely event that North ends up on opening lead, and the favorable vulnerability should further encourage South to get in there and compete for the part-score.  Passing would be quite feeble, and doubling with that square shape is not attractive (nor would that help North to find an opening Heart lead).


 

  Q 5 A Q 9 5 4 Q 8 5 2  10 7

West North East South
    Pass Pass
1 ??    
       

 We love to throw in those lead-directing overcalls, but this one is just too dangerous, at least for us.  If North really has to overcall at the two-level with a 10-count then there should at least be some character to the hand.  There is no such character here … only 5 Hearts, no shortness, no fillers, poor controls, and side-suit Queens which may be quite useless on offense … just an awful hand!

P.S  On the actual hand 2 doubled is -500.  That’s a zero even if the opponents can make game, and it’s not entirely clear that they will.


 

 Both Vul
 
  10 4 9 8 6 4 2 A K J 10 5 Q
 
West North East South
    1 Pass
1 ??    
       

 

What are the choices?

  Dbl?          Not good enough for that.

  2NT?       This would show the unbid suits, but a more distributional hand (and usually a weaker one)

                        than the take-out Double.  Not an unreasonable bid, but we’d prefer not to be vulnerable, of

                        course.

  Pass?        Not terrible, either.

  2?           Yes, yet another lead-director, and our own choice … true, there is a good chance that we’ll

                        be on lead ourselves against a Spade contract, but that’s not a certainty by any means.  It

                        hardly looks like we can compete for this contract, so we might as well make our one and

                        only bid a lead-director.


Both Vul

 
  6 2 A K 10 Q J 10 5 2 10 9 4
 
West North East South
  2 Pass 2
Pass 2NT Pass ??
       

 North’s sequence shows 22-23, giving N-S a total of 32-33, and on the borderline for 6NT.  North also has three Tens and a nice 5-card suit so we’d say that it’s worth taking a shot at slam, so we’d just bid 6NT directly.

We’re sure that you have noticed that we might be missing two Aces.  Anyone for Gerber, just to be sure?  Not us, if we bid 4 we’d be afraid that it would give West the opportunity for a lead-directing Double, a bigger risk, we think, than the chance of missing two Aces.

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