Opening leads are arguably the hardest part of the game of bridge. When the cheating scandal of 2015 was uncovered, some of the world’s top players were found to be using illegal methods of communication to tell their partner about the suit they were leading from. Opening leads are that tricky as you are only armed with your 13 cards to select from and a few clues from the bidding.
(i) With two-four card suits, open the higher ranking suit (exception: with 4♥ and 4♠, open 1♥)
(ii) A limit raise showing 4+ trumps and 6-9 HCP
(iii) With 19 HCP, South jumps to game knowing of an 8 card trump fit.
At table 1, West led the 6♠ which travelled round to declarer’s King. Declarer played AK♥, discovering that they had two certain trump losers. Declarer abandoned trumps and played the Q♣, high card from the shortage, and then 3 further rounds of clubs were played discarding dummy’s spades. East was forced to trump with a master heart and declarer in total lost 2 heart tricks and 1 diamond meaning their contract made.
At table 2, West, remembering that you do not lead away from an Ace in a suit contact at trick 1, selected the 10♦. East correctly won with the Ace and switched to dummy’s weakness in spades. The Q♠ was played, high from a doubleton, and now South’s King was trapped. Declarer in time lost 3 spade tricks, 2 hearts and 1 diamond.
So next time you are on lead to a suit contract, keep in mind the following…
TOP TIP: DO NOT LEAD AWAY FROM AN ACE AGAINST A SUIT CONTRACT AT TRICK 1