Leading Questions Part 2

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A capable defender often chooses a trump lead, not because of …Photo: Fred Stewart y Kit Woolsey

By Frank Stewart
On 27 August, 2013 At 11:58

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Fred Stewart y Kit Woolsey
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Source: 2005 ACBL Bulletins

Do you lead trumps?

The opening lead is the first step in the defenders’ campaign to defeat the contract or at Matchpoint scoring, to get all the tricks they’re due. When a capable defender chooses a lead, he reviews the bidding, visualizes the dummy and tries to anticipate declarer’s play. A capable defender often chooses a trump lead, not because of the old adage “when in doubt, lead a trump,” but to play safe or deprive declarer of extra ruffing tricks.

Try these opening lead problems and decide whether you would lead trumps as South. Assume matchpoint scoring. My solutions include a conjectural deal that shows how the lead I like might gain. Since opening leads are not an exact science, I could as easily present a deal in which my suggested lead is disastrous.

Lead a trump despite North’s overcall. Dummy will be weak but will have a little distribution. North has spades and you have both red suits well controlled, hence declarer’s most likely source of extra tricks is with ruffs.

A trump lead is best and holds East to his contract.

West showed 6 to 9 points, but his 2 bid was a “false preference.” If he had real heart support, he’d usually have raised to 2 at his first turn A trump opening lead would be misguided, since dummy may have 4=2=3=4 or 5=2=3=3
distribution. Lead the Q.

A spade opening lead (or, as it happens, a low diamond) defeats the contract. A trump lead is costly.

West, not vulnerable against vulnerable, saved against your game. East- West’s assets are mostly distributional. A trump lead is often correct when the opponents sacrifice.A trump lead is good enough to start the defenders toward the four-trick set they need.

A trump lead is tempting since you have heart tricks to protect, but declarer may be overruffed if he tries to ruff hearts in dummy. If you lead a spade, a defensive crossruff may result. The spade lead is best if the full deal is this:

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