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LaFetra Bridge Club

OPENING LEADS
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ALL OVER THE WORLD
BRIDGE PLAYERS
ARE LOOKING FOR THE BEST
OPENING LEAD

THEIR PARTNER (3rd Hand) WANTS TO KNOW
WHAT SHE SHOULD PLAY TO TRICK ONE

The most important consideration when deciding on an opening lead is choosing which suit to lead

After that you choose which card to lead

The rules listed below are not in any order

These rules are not inviolate

Any of these choices may be best on any given hand

AGAINST A SUIT CONTRACT:

Lead:
1) Partners suit
2) Your own suit
3) An unbid suit (a major suit is usually preferred)
4) A singleton is always a good lead
5) Trumps
6) Dummy's suit
7) Top of a worthless 2 card suit. (The lead of a doubleton is usually not the best lead and almost never results in a ruff)
8) Bottom of three worthless cards
9) The second suit bid by declarer

The card to lead against a suit contract once you have chosen a suit:

When leading partners suit if you have supported partner:

1) The top of 3 or 4 worthless cards
2) The 4th highest of 4 or more cards to an honor
3) The top of touching honors
4. Low from 3 to an honor (except the Ace)
Sometimes if you think you should retain the lead lead the honor from 3 or 4
5. The Ace if you have it

If you have not supported partner:

1) Low from 3 cards
2) Top of a doubleton
3) Top of a sequence of honors(e.g. Kqj)
4) Top of a broken sequence (e.g. Qj9 or Kq10)
5) From an interior sequence kjT9x) - lead the ten. QT9xx-lead the 9. KT9xx - lead the 9. The 9 implies the T and one higher. The 10 implies the Jack and one higher.
6) 4th highest from a suit of 4 or more cards (yes, even underlead a king, but you should never underlead an ace against a suit contract).
7) The Ace from Akx (ace, king, and one or more other cards in the suit) Most advanced players lead the Ace first from this holding, but the King first is standard for SAYC, but can be changed by partnership agreement. (At the 5 level or higher or in partner's bid suit lead the K first)
8) The K from a doubleton AK (The K followed by the A shows partner that you have a doubleton; the opposite if you lead the K from AK(xx).
9) The top of touching honors Qjx)
10) Lead the Q from AKQxx - follow with the Ace

AGAINST A NO-TRUMP CONTRACT:

The main tool in playing a NT contract is to set up a long suit.

This is true as a defender as well as declarer. Consideration should be given to finding a long suit, either yours or your partners.

The standard lead against NT is 4th best from your longest and strongest.

You should not lead 4th highest if your suit is weak, and you have no outside entry to get back into your hand to run your long suit even if you could set it up.

In leading against NT, keep in mind the bidding, especially if Stayman or Jacoby transfers were used by the opponents.

If responder bids Stayman, that means he has at least one 4 card major.

If he bid Stayman and then bids another suit, he has 5+ cards in the new suit.

If he makes a Jacoby Transfer bid, he does not have a four card major.

If the opener rebids 2 diamonds after his partners Stayman bid, then he does not have a 4 card major.

THE SUIT TO LEAD:

1) Partners suit
2) Your own suit
3) An unbid major suit
4) An unbid minor suit

THE CARD TO LEAD:

1) Top of a sequence of honors(e.g. Kqj)
2) Top of a broken sequence (e.g. Qj9 or Kq10)
3) From an interior sequence kjT9x) - lead the ten. QT9xx-lead the 9. KT9xx - lead the 9. The 9 implies the T and one higher. The 10 implies the Jack and one higher.
4) 4th highest from suit of 4 or 5 cards (yes, even including a king or an ace).
5) Low from three to an honor.
6) The top of touching honors (Qjx)
7) The lead of the Ace asks partner to drop his highest honor (AKJTX for example) with no honor partner gives count. High - Low shows an even number, low high shows an odd number
8) The lead of the Jack denies a higher honor.
9) The lead of the Queen asks partner to drop the Jack if he has it KQT9xx.

EXAMPLES OF STANDARD OPENING LEADS
AGAINST A SUIT CONTRACT

Akqj - The A
Akqxxx - The A
Akqxx - The A
Akqx - The A
Akx - The A
Axx - The A
Akj10 - The A
Akjxx - The A
Akjxxxx The A
Akxxxx - The A
Ak109x - The A
aK - The K
Aqj10x - Find another suit to lead (The A if you must lead this suit)
Aqjxx - Find another suit to lead (The A)
Aq109x - Find another suit to lead (The A)
Aqxxx - Find another suit to lead (The A)
Aj10xx - Find another suit to lead (The A)
Aj9xx - Find another suit to lead (The A)
Kqjxx - K - Top of the sequence
Kq10xx K - Top of an almost sequence
Kqxxx - Top of a two card sequence
kj10xx - 10 - from the interior sequence
kjX - X - Low from 3 to an honor
k109xx - 9 - from the interior sequence
kxX - Low from three
Qj10xx - Q - Top of a sequence
Qj9xx - Q - Top of an almost sequence
QjxXx - Q or 4th Highest
q10X - Low from three
J109xx - J - Top of a sequence
J108XX - J - Top of an almost sequence
J10xXx - J or 4th Highest
jxX - 3rd Highest
1098 - 10 - Top of a sequence
109xX - 10 or 4th Highest
10xX - 3rd Highet
xxX - 3rd Highest
Xx - High from a doubleton

EXAMPLES OF STANDARD OPENING LEADS
AGAINST A NO TRUMP CONTRACT

Akqj - The A
Akqxxx - The A
aKqxx - The K
aKqx - The K
aKx - The K
axX - 3rd Highest
Akj10 - The A
akjXx - 4th Highest
aKjxxxxx - The A or 4th Highest
akxXxx - 4th Highest
ak109x - the 9, from an interior sequence
ak - Do not lead this suit
Aqj10x - The A
aqjxx - Find another suit to lead
aq109X - 9 or sometimes the Q
aqxXx - 4th Highest
aJ10xx - The 10, from an interior sequence
AJ9XX - 4th Highest
Kqjxx - K - Top of the sequence
Kq10xx - K - Top of an almost sequence
kqxXx - 4th Highest
kJ10xx - 10 - from an interior sequence
kjX - X - Low from 3 to an honor
k109xx - 9 - from an interior sequence
kxX - Low from three
Qj10xx - Q - Top of a sequence
Qj9XX - Q - Top of an almost sequence
qjxXx - 4th Highest
q109xx - 9 - from an interior sequence
q10X - Low from three
J109XX - J - Top of a sequence
J108XX - J - Top of an almost sequence
j10xXx - 4th Highest
jxX - 3rd Highest
1098 - 10 - Top of a sequence
109xX - 4th Highest or the 10
10xX - 3rd Highet
Xxx - Top of three rags
Xx - High from a doubleton