Opening Leads Chapter 13

The next two opening lead problems have come from recent play, both from X-Clubs on Tuesday 11-June. I will reproduce the full deals, not because I am what sceptics call a ‘results merchant’ but because they do illustrate some important considerations when making what you consider the best opening lead. It may not necessarily lead to the best outcome, but in the long term if you have ‘perfected’ your opening leads, you’ll be able to add considerably to your average session score.

Board 5 Tuesday 11/06/24
Dealer North NS Vul


The Bidding:


West can infer that partner does not have many points. West can be sure of two trump tricks and the ace of spades, and potentially the king of clubs if the ace is with declarer. Should West just play a passive game and try to give nothing away? My inclination would be to do that, and lead a diamond. Which one? The SEVEN is the most meaningful for partner. Don’t forget that partner will play little part in the defence, but it is still important that you don’t lead her astray by leading any of the lowest diamonds. A spade lead can be discounted, as of course should a trump. But can a case be made for the much more aggressive king of clubs? I suggest it’s not a bad shot, especially if one of the low trumps can be turned to use via a ruff. Partner can’t have much, but the queen of clubs, maybe even an unlikely ace of clubs, would be very useful. Few Wests were brave enough to lead the king of clubs, but what is interesting is the play by declarer. If declarer wins the ace in dummy at trick one and immediately finesses in trumps, West can lead another club to East who will take two clubs and continue with their last one. All declarer has to do is to ruff with the eight, but some may be careless enough to allow West to over ruff.

On the opening lead of the king of clubs, the best play by declarer is to duck, just in case the communIcation between the defenders can be disrupted. It ought to be safe enough to duck one round.