e-Vil Files 04

As promised, here is the ‘eye opener’. We now turn our attention to South as declarer. I stumbled on a very interesting, and similar situation many years ago when I had to make the opening lead from a very similar West hand. I did not want to lead from my heart suit and did not want to lead one of the black suits because the lead of a useless three card suit against 1NT is not being very proactive. What to do?

Dealer N Nil Vul


I figured that there was no harm in leading the ace of diamonds, because if declarer had the king, no real harm done as I would make the queen later, and if dummy had the king it was always going to make if declarer led towards it. And, I may mislead declarer or get some sort of signal from partner and have a better idea how to continue after seeing dummy.

The ace lead asked specifically for attitude, and if partner thought I had the king as well, he would signal with a suitable holding like Jxxx or Jxxxx. So, I led the ace of diamonds and partner encouraged with the eight, surprised as he was to see the ace hit the deck, having no idea why I had led the ace when HE held the king. I continued with the queen and then led the six, and partner took the next three tricks. With five diamond tricks in the bank and an encouraging signal in hearts by me, the heart switch to my AQ meant down one. This was a triumph when all other declarers were making at least seven tricks their way after a low heart lead. This somewhat serendipitous turn of events led me to think more about opening leads, and I could see absolutely no reason why we should not add to our opening lead repertoire the lead of an ace to not only ask for attitude with e.g. AKx or AKxx but also specifically with a holding of AQx against a No Trump contract. Take a look at the deal again and imagine South as declarer and West leading the ace of diamonds, with a defensive agreement about such opening leads.

Have another think about this deal but don’t even think about implementing anything unless you have a partner who can understand these things and is willing to cooperate, and make sure you give these files to your partner to read.

In the next issue you will see why defeating 1NT was a triumph at the time but was in fact not the best possible result at all.

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