Sunday, July 02, 2006

Odd but successful leads

Suppose your RHO plays some trump contract. You hold trump KQJ2 and there's no other lead attractive (unsupported Kings or Queens, or leading into declarer's suit), so you want to lead trumps. What is the best card to do so?

The most important question to ask is if partner can have a trump. If he can't, the K or Q or even J is obvious, but if he certainly has one or more a small one is better! Here's why: if partner has the T or 9 (or perhaps even the 8) you probably won't give away a trick. The T is obvious, but the 9 you may wonder? Look at following dummy:
- T83 <-> A7654: nobody will try the T, since it's quite useless. Most people don't start small with KQJx, so it would be a waste losing the T to RHO's honour.
- AT6 <-> 87543: again, why try a finesse?
- T93 <-> A7654: partner has the 8, declarer will probably play low in dummy.
Ofcourse there are many losing positions as well, so there's quite a risk involved. You may want to prospone this by leading another suit (with other risks) and play small when RHO tries to play trumps. However, a good declarer will usually spot the 4-1 split early enough, and will try to endplay you.

Other useful holdings: QJTx, QJx, KQx (most risky I think)

The most successful time is probably after 1NT followed by a transfer. You'll be leading through a long suit, so the chance of dummy having a key Ten is highest. But there's still no guarantee...

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