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By Val Rhead
Declarer just loves the opponents who lead out their Aces without planning. It makes declarer’s Kings good without the inconvenience of a finesse that may be unsuccessful.
For today’s column, the opponents’ contract is No Trump and you are on lead.
First remind yourself what suit, if any, partner has bid. It is usually a good strategy to lead partner’s suit, particularly if you need a ride home from the game. Partner’s suit may be where your partnership might make the most tricks to defeat the contract. When leading partner’s suit, think about unblocking so that you do not get stuck in your hand when partner has good cards to run in that suit.
Also, it sometimes is necessary to unblock when you are leading an unbid suit. I remember once playing against our opponents’ No Trump contract. Our opponents asked “Are your No Trump leads standard?”
“Yes”, my partner replied. Three suits had been bid. I led out my singleton Ace of the unbid suit.
“That’s not a standard lead” grumbled my opponent. He was right. A standard lead is usually the fourth card from your longest suit, or else a card in a suit that your partner has bid.
But to me this was the logical lead in this situation. As three suits had been bid, it was likely that my partner had something in the unbid suit. I wanted to unblock by leading my Ace. I didn’t want to be stuck in my hand unable to reach the good cards that my partner probably had. Today I would answer that question by replying “usually, depending on the bidding.”
Now back to the lead of partner’s suit. If you have the Ace or King plus two or more smaller cards, lead the smallest card first. You are signalling you have an honour, hoping partner might get in or force out the opponents’ high cards. Later, when partner does get in, he will lead back to your Ace or King and then you still have a small card for a third-round lead back to partner to help set up his suit. But remember you don’t want to lead the Ace. Your opponent will put a small card on the trick. Aces are meant to capture Kings or Queens, not twos or threes.
It is unlikely, but if you have both Ace and King in partner’s suit, lead both of them out first and then a smaller card if you have one. You will have unblocked and hopefully partner will now have some extra tricks in that suit.
If partner has not bid and you are on lead, consider first your own good suit and second an unbid suit. The acronym “BOSTON” may help you decide which card to lead in a suit. This means “Bottom Of Something”, or “Top Of Nothing”. From your own good suit headed by the Ace and/or King, lead small (fourth highest from longest and strongest) signalling partner that you have an honour. If you have five cards in a suit but no honours, it still may be worth setting up the suit. Lead the “Top Of Nothing” e.g. the nine or eight or seven, and partner will know that you have a long suit but no honours.
Finally, if your suit has a three card honour sequence e.g. Ace King Queen, or broken sequence e.g. King Queen Ten, lead the top of the sequence, not the fourth best. Partner will know that you have high cards in the suit and return your lead. Sometimes leading just the Ace from a two-card Ace-King sequence can be useful. You lead the Ace so that partner knows you have the King. The King will be an entry to your hand later if your partnership has established some good tricks in another suit.
Next week we will look at leading Aces and Kings in a suit contract.
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HUNTSVILLE DUPLICATE BRIDGE CLUB
Please NOTE new time 7pm: Games are now on EVENING PLAY for the Summer, Tuesday 7:00pm Trinity United Church 33 Main Street. Please arrive 15 minutes before game time. For partners and information call Liz Graham (705) 789-7187
The following winners are for Tuesday, May 8 with 11 pairs playing a Howell movement. 1. Vern Foell and Rod Dixon; 2. Jim Smith and Ralph Mitchell; 3. Mary Simonett and Kel Andresen; 4. Betty Fagin and Brian Brocklehurst; 5. Fay MacDonald and Yvonne Cox; 6. Liz Barnes and David Bryce
MUSKOKA DUPLICATE BRIDGE CLUB (Bracebridge)
Games for the Bracebridge Club are Mondays 7pm, Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Taylor Road. Please arrive 15 minutes before game time. For information or partnerships, call Brian at 705-645-5340 firstname.lastname@example.org
The following winners are from Monday, May 7 with 15 pairs playing a Howell movement. 1. Mary Luke and Donna McIntosh; 2. Lyn Walisser and Bev Howard; 3. Liz Barnes and David Bryce; 4. Art Insley and Don Evans; 5. Kel Andresen and Jim Smith; 6. Yvonne Cox and Helen Pearson; 7. Mary Mitchell and Susan Maddocks; 8. Barb Forth and Vern Foell
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