Rixi Markus

Fuente: Defence

When, as a defender, you are about to attack from a holding such as J-x, Q-x or K-x, consider the possible advantage of leading a low card.

Rika (‘Rixi’) Markus (nÈe Scharfstein) by Judy Cassab, 1958

The second entry for the Bols competition was from Rixi Marcus. Once upon a time she was regarded as the best woman player in the world, having won the woman’s pair championship of the world twice. She won the Mixed Team Olympiad, and Women’s Team Olympiad, and six European titles. Incredibly, the first of these were gained for Austria back in 1935.

Rixi wrote for the Guardian and Evening Standard and was the author of several books, so let her speak for herself:

When you, as a defender, are about to attack a suit in which you have holding such as J-x, Q-x or K-x, do you invariably lead the high card? Most players always do, but this is sometimes quite a costly mistake.

My bridge tip is that when you have to open up such a holding you should consider the possible advantage of leading thelow card.This may well work better when the hand on your left is marked with strength in this suit, and especially when you have no re-entry to your hand.

Suppose, for example, that at some point during the defense you lead the king from K-x and the next hand wins with the ace from A-J-x. Now, if you yourself cannot regain the lead, your partner will be stymied even if his holding is as strong as, say, Q-10-9-x. He will be unable to continue the suit except at the cost of a trick. Had you led low instead, the suit could have been cleared. (I am assuming, of course, that your partner is well endowed with entries.)

I was able to put this tip to good use in a recent rubber. South opened with a weak 1NT, showing 12 to 14 points, and finished in 3NT after a sequence below. What would you have led from the West hand?

South dealer Neither side vulnerable

Q2   J97654
107432   AJ9
643   AQ
865   103
South West North East
1NT Pass 2 2
Pass Pass DBL Pass
3 Pass 3NT All Pass

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