Andrew Robson bridgeSource:         

We have spent some deals looking at the huge significance of the auction to your choice of lead. What partner bid; what partner didn’t bid; what the opponents bid; even how confidently they bid it.

[I am reminded of the story of the defender who asked for a review of the bidding – including all the inflections! NB: it is unethical to take partner’s inflections into account; and you take opposing inflections (which cannot be made deliberately to deceive, in contrast to that all-in-game, Poker) into account at your own risk].

If the opponents bid confidently, an aggressive approach to your leading strategy is called for. Go for the quick set. Play the waiting game, and you’ll probably take tricks 15, 16 and 17 – like on this deal.

  1. 1 Too strong to open Three.
  2. 2 Showing a single-suited slammy hand.
  3. 4 But if all partner can do is repeat hearts…

What happened
West looked no further than his club sequence, an unbid suit. Declarer rose with dummy’s A, crossed to AK, felling Q and J, then cashed and over to dummy’s winning spades. Away went all declarer’s diamonds, and all 13 tricks were made.

“Could we have bid it (the grand slam)?” said a barely-concentrating dummy. West shuddered (although dummy’s ignorant comment had not meant to irritate). He could now see that even 4 should have failed…

What should have happened
A club attack is too slow. Dummy’s jump to 2 indicates near-slam values. Aggressive tactics are required. Playing partner for the least to take four tricks (i.e.A), West leads 3. East wins A and returns West beats 10 with J, cashes K, and then, the Coup de Grace, leads 6. East alertly trumps with J and, even though declarer can overruff with K, West’s Q is promoted. Down one.

If you remember one thing…
Lead aggressively against a confidently- bid contract.