Bridge & Humor: An Unusual Opening Lead by Hugh Kelsey

Hugh Kelsey
Hugh Kelsey

 Here is an unusual opening lead problem.

After three passes you hear 1NT on your right, and 3NT on your left. What do you lead from this ordinary-looking hand?

J 8 5 3  Q 8 2  J 7 5  K 9 2 

A low spade? Or possibly a small heart? Both are wrong, and might have cost your team dear.

But then, I haven’t given you the full story. It’s the last board in the Closed Room. You have reason to believe you are about 100 IMP ahead, but you have been given thirty seconds to complete the play or face a 2 VP penalty for slow play.

Quickly: with directors hovering around like vultures. NOW what do you lead?

In these circumstances the object must be to make the play as simple as possible for declarer, and your king of clubs should hit the table with the speed of light.

Barnet Shenkin
Barnet Shenkin

It happened in the 2nd-round match between Britain and Spain, and Barnet Shenkin flashed out the king of clubs, proving that he can play quickly enough when the need arises.

The gratified declarer collected eleven fast tricks to beat the deadline by half a second.