This hand was played in a Sunday duplicate game in Chiang
Mai. No one was vulnerable and South dealt. This was the bidding:
Imagine you are sitting West, with the hand below. You have the awkward task
of leading. Given the above bidding, what is your opening lead?
Do you believe that South actually has the stoppers in both majors that he
should have for his 3N bid (South is known for risky bids)? Do you lead your
partner’s suit? Or your own suit? Or dummy’s suit? Or the unbid suit? The
fate of the hand depends on the opening lead, so decide what you would do
before looking at the full deal below.
At the table the two of clubs, the unbid suit, was led.
The lead was ducked in dummy and the ten of clubs taken with the king in
hand. Declarer then crossed to board with a diamond and led the singleton
heart. East correctly went up with the ace (otherwise, declarer makes a
heart trick to go with a spade—with the right guess—a club and six diamonds
for the contract). East then led a low club back to West’s ace. West now
switched to a diamond to pin the lead in dummy. Declarer led the eight of
clubs from dummy, hoping that whoever held the queen would go up with it, or
that it would fall. East did rise with the queen. He was reluctant to lead
from the queen of spades into the king jack on board, so he led a second
heart. Now declarer has the rest of the tricks—winning six diamonds, three
high hearts and the first club trick for an over trick.
If you can see all four hands, it is not difficult to see how to defeat the
contract. At the table however, defence is difficult, primarily because of
the difficulty of working out what South has for his bid. The opening club
lead did not work out well (although the contract could still have been
defeated). An opening heart lead followed by a heart continuation (which is
what South was hoping for) works out even worse and concedes the contract
quickly. An opening spade lead probably dooms the contract. However, the
best opening lead may be the least obvious—dummy’s strong suit, diamonds.
Declarer has no entries to hand and is likely to be stuck on board and
limited to seven tricks—six diamonds and eventually a spade. What lead did
I would like to hear from readers about their favourite hands—please do
contact me at [email protected] Bridge Club of Chiang Mai welcomes
all players. We have members from seventeen different countries already. For
information on the Club go to the web site www.bridgewebs.com/chiangmai.