Tips - Leading
||When partner doubles the final contract, partner either:
||(1) Thinks that the combined defensive strength between the two defensive
hands is enough to defeat the contract.
||(2) Has a strong trump holding.
||(3) Can tell from the bidding that it is a touch and
go contract and that YOU have trump length. This
double is an effort to give declarer a false impression of who
has the missing trumps. These are called "offside"
doubles and require a special relationship with partner when
they don't work.
||(4) Is trying to direct your lead to a particular suit,
a suit you might not otherwise have led. These 'lead directing
doubles' particularly apply vs. slam contracts when partner
has preempted or against notrump game or slam contracts that
usually call for the lead of dummy's first bid suit.
||When partner makes a penalty double against a trump contract,
assume partner is short in your long suit. Penalty doubles work
best when the doubling side is misfitted.
||If partner has bid a suit and later doubles a VOLUNTARILY
bid slam, do NOT lead partner's suit (the normal lead) and do
NOT lead a trump. Partner's double shows either:
||(1) A void (the most common reason).
||(2) A desire for a lead in dummy's first bid suit.
||(3) The AK of one of the declarer's bid suits.
If partner has NOT bid and later
doubles a VOLUNTARILY bid slam, do not lead the unbid suit,
the normal lead, or a trump.
Partner's double shows either:
||(1) A side suit void
||(2) A desire for the lead in dummy's first bid suit.
||If dummy makes a wild leap to slam in partner's suit (no Blackwood),
assume a void, strong trump, a powerful side suit, and perhaps
a control in the shorter side suit. It is usually right
to lead the shorter side suit if you can figure out which it
||North East South West
1H Pass 1S 2C
You hold S. A4 H. Q5
D. J64 C. AQJ952
Dummy figures to have a club void with
a long hearts. Lead a diamond and hope to build up a trick
in that suit before your SA is removed. If the CA would have
cashed and you lose it, I don't know you.
||With a terribly weak hand and having supported parner's suit
with Qxx(x) or Kxx(x), lead the honor in case you need to switch
to another suit. If you lead low, you may never get in again.
||With the ace and any length, lead the ace unless you feel
you must get partner in at once to: (1) give you a ruff;
(2) the dummy has bid notrump and you think dummy has the king.
Underleads of aces when they don't work out require a
very special relationship with partner.
||With 10xx, Jxx, or Qxx lead low. However if dummy has bid notrump, lead
the high honor.
||With three or four small, lead low if you have NOT supported;
lead high if you have.
||If you have led high from xxx, play your middle card next.
If you have led high from xxxx, play your lowest card next.
If you have led low from xxx, play your highest card next.
If you have led low from xxxx, play your lowest remaining card
next. In each case you are giving partner present count.
||Leading a suit partner has overcalled is USUALLY safer than
leading a suit partner has opened. However, if the bidding
has indicated that partner has made a light third hand opening,
tend to lead partner's suit. The main reason for opening
light in third seat is to attract the lead.
||The card you select as your opening lead is probably the
most important card you are going to play during the entire
defense. Therefore, you should give it a little thought.
Your focus should be on the likely distribution around the table
(easier when there is mucho bidding), declarer's likely strength
and the degree of trump fit that the bidding seems to indicate.
Of major concern is whether you
should be making an aggressive or a passive opening lead.
Again you must go back to the bidding to help you out.
- Does the dummy figure to have a long side suit?
- If there is a long side suit, how is it breaking? If
it appearss to be breaking evenly, make an attacking lead.
If you have it well under control, a trump lead is usually
best. Why? Because when dummy has a long suit it also
has a short suit. Since the long suit cannot be established,
declarer will try to use dummy's trumps for ruffing.
Each trump you lead is one less loser that declarer can
- Should I be looking for a ruff? Lead
a short suit, particularly with a trump holdings that look
like Kxx, Ax (x), but not with QJx or J10xx where
ruffing costs you a natural trump trick.
- Should I be looking to give partner a ruff?
This can work out well if you have a quick rump entry facing
a partner who is marked with shortness in a side suit.
- Should I be trying to shorten the declarer's trump holding?
This is usually a good idea when holding four trumps. If
delcarer has five trumps, say, and you can make declarer
twice, you will have more trumps than declarer. This
is good news for you and bad news, very bad news, for declarer.
- Should I just be sitting back and waiting for my
tricks rather than attacking here, there, and everywhere? This
is what you do against a balanced dummy where declarer cannot
set up a long suit and will eventually lose any slow losers
they have. Avoid breaking new suits unless it is safe to
- Should I be leading a trump to cut down on ruffs in the
dummy? Declarer has bid two suits, winds up
in the second suit, and you have length and strength in
the first suit. This is a good time to lead a trump.
- Has partner passed a low level takeout double? A
trump lead is quasi- mandatory in this case. Partner must
have a very strong trump holding to pass a low level takeout
double. You should be looking to draw declarer's trumps
so he can't make his little ones by ruffing.
||Don't even think of leading a trump when the opponents are in the throes of
||Holding a balanced hand with broken strength in each suit, a trump lead from
two or three small when dummy has given a single raise is usually best.
||With a strong sequence in trump (KQJ, QJ109), a trump
lead is usually best.
||If partner is marked
with a singleton trump, there is no point in leading a trump
from Kxx because neither of you will be able to continue the
suit. Try another lead and hope that partner
will find the trump switch, if necessary.