Ellensburg Daily Record – 13 Feb 1923
Experience has shown that the best defense against a No Trump contract is the opening of your longest suit, in the hope that it will prove the weak spot of the No Trump declarer or that, if the declarer has it stopped, you can eventually set it up. It is of no value, however, to set up a suit unless you can get the lead. To do this you must have a card of re-entry. Therefore, don’t lead Aces and Kings to get a look at dummy as you may do in opening against a trump declaration. The high cards should be reserved as re-entry cards, and will be far more useful at the end of the hand than if led out at the start.
After the opening lead of your long suit, use good judgment as to whether you should continue with your suit or try to help your partner by shifting to a suit that you infer must be his. To determine properly your procedure at this point requires deduction of a high order. If you find the declarer with a double stopper in your suit, or if your card of re-entry has been taken out, abandon the effort to establish your suit and shift to a suit that you have decided must be your partner’s best suit.
Note particularly what dummy’s strength consists of, and if it contains a long suit and a card of re-entry, try to take out that re-entry before the declarer can establish dummy’s long suit. Many a game is saved by such tactics.
Note your partner’s discards very carefully in order to determine his strong suit and also what high cards he is trying to protect .This will also help you to discard correctly. Always bear in mind that the way to save game is to get the best results from the combined hands of yourself and partner. For that reason don’t go on with your own suit if it is hopeless. Shift to your partner’s suit at once.
On the other hand, if your partner obtains the lead and fails to return your suit, take for granted that he knows what he is about. By making such a play he shows not only a strong suit but also a card of re-entry. The opening lead at No Trump should always be from your long suit and from an honor combination if such combinations are held. The table of leads that follows covers all such honor combinations and is supposed to suggest the proper lead only when partner has not made a bid.
The opening lead of a high card at a No Trump indicates either a combination of three honors or at least a seven-card suit. The lead of the Ace calls for partner’s highest card. This is what is termed «unblocking» and is most important. When the partner opens his long suit at No Trump it is your duty to establish that suit if possible. When holding four or less cards of his suit and you obtain the lead, return the top card. If he opens with an honor and you hold four or more of his suit, play the second best card and on the second round play your third best. The purpose of this procedure is to prevent your high cards in your partner’s suit from blocking or preventing him from establishing hit suit. This is most important.
In case your partner has made a bid it is usually better to open his suit than to take a chance with your own. If you hold four or more of his suit, lead fourth best; if you hold three to an honor, lead the lowest card; if you hold three entail cards, lead the second card; if you hold two to an honor, lead the honor; if you hold two small cards, lead the higher card. With only a singleton of your partner’s suit, it sometimes is better to open your own suit. No definite rule can be set down. The bidding should give fair indication of the strength of partner’s suit.