Julian Pottage

Continuations and Returns by Julian Pottage

Often it works well for the defenders to persevere with the suit led at trick one. You or your partner, whoever made the opening lead, must have had a reason for choosing it, and that reason may still apply. Moreover, if you switch from one suit to another, you risk giving up tricks as you do. If you are the opening leader, common sense may dictate how you should continue:

  K 6 4  
Q J 9 5     A 8 3 2
  10 7

If, as West, you lead the queen and it wins, then you need to continue with the jack. If you mistakenly were to lead a low card next, declarer would play low from dummy and ultimately score a trick in the suit.

  10 6 4  
Q J 9 5 3      K 7
   A 8 2

Again, you lead the queen and win the trick (declarer could win the first trick and block the suit, but this may not be obvious to your opponent). This time it is just as important that you continue with a low card. East could not afford to
play the king on the queen, as that would set up dummy’s ten, but if you were to lead the jack second time around, setting
up dummy’s ten by crashing honours is precisely what you would achieve.

  K 6 4  
Q J 10 5     A 7 2
  9 8 3

On the preceding layouts partner knew you had the jack because you would hardly lead the queen without it. Besides, with the jack in hand, declarer would not be ducking the first trick. Here you have the queen, jack and ten. So…

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