X-Clubs Play 17

Oh what a difference an opening lead can make! This one is straight from the text book but only one East found the trump lead when the bidding screamed for it.

Board 2 from Thursday 12/05/2022
Dealer East NS Vul


After three passes, North opened 1H and South bid 1S. North now bid 2D and South passed. That happened at 28 tables across the whole of X-Clubs. 27 Easts led either a club (mostly) or a spade. 14 declarers made 2D (two of them actually made an overtrick!) and 10 were down one, 2 down two. But one East led a trump, having learnt that bidding like that pretty well guarantees that South will have either four diamonds and two hearts, or three diamonds and a singleton heart. Hence a trump lead is mandatory to cut down on any possible cross ruff. Which trump to lead? East led the four, happy for West to produce any high diamond, and if not, East still had a sure trump trick anyway. Of course East struck gold when West produced the king, won by declarer’s ace. Declarer now tried the queen of clubs, ducked to West who won the king and returned a diamond for East to cash the top diamonds. East then killed dummy’s clubs by leading a second club. Declarer took a third round of clubs discarding a spade and persisted with clubs to discard the queen of spades. But East ruffed and removed
declarer’s final trump by switching to spades. Declarer did make the ace of hearts but down three was the end result.

I have regularly noted trump leads by many players at the wrong time, especially singleton trump leads. Why not learn when the right time for trump leads is and use them when they will help the defence and not declarer.