BRIDGE

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PUZZLES - with DOU­GLAS NEW­LANDS

If you are go­ing to de­fend ef­fec­tively, it is es­sen­tial that your part­ner­ship has sim­ple and clear agree­ments about your lead­ing meth­ods. There is not much dif­fer­ence in hon­our leads be­tween over­lead all and all ex­cept AK. It is, how­ever, most im­por­tant to get your leads of spot cards well or­gan­ised. At the most ba­sic level, this is not a mat­ter of 4th best or 3rd and 5th best. Nor is it a mat­ter of MUD or top of noth­ing. So what is it? The most im­por­tant thing is that a small card sug­gests part­ner lead the suit back and a high spot sug­gests they do not. This is true on both the open­ing lead and deeper in de­fence. Once you have that ba­sic prin­ci­ple, ev­ery­thing else just adds a lit­tle ex­act­ness to pro­ceed­ings. It is quite rea­son­able to choose to lead 4th best from an hon­our to give a count on the suit but that comes sec­on­dar­ily to the “re­turn my suit” sug­ges­tion. From groups of small cards, you must lead a high spot to deny hold­ing an hon­our. Top of noth­ing is playable but I pre­fer 2nd top or MUD, as it is some­times called. With MUD you can lead the sec­ond top spot card and fol­low with a higher one to show an odd num­ber ini­tially. Play­ing a lower one on the sec­ond round shows an even num­ber. Lead­ing small from long groups of small cards needs to be avoided as it sug­gests an hon­our is held and that part­ner should re­turn the suit. In the hand shown, EW bid the spade game af­ter the trans­fer re­sponse of 1H. This is a good con­tract that hap­pens to be doomed as the cards lie. If the KH or AD is in the other hand the con­tract is easy. At ? the ta­ble, North led the 8H. De­clarer played small and South won the KH and had to make the cru­cial de­ci­sion. A heart re­turn is not go­ing to de­velop any tricks since part­ner led a high spot. De­clarer must play trumps so the de­fence doesn’t need to. Sim­i­larly, if the de­fence has a club trick that will al­ways be there. Thus, it is clear to switch to the QD and de­feat the con­tract. At the ta­ble, South weakly re­turned another heart. As North had the AS, de­clarer could draw trumps and dis­card a di­a­mond loser on the fourth club so the de­fence did not get their sec­ond di­a­mond trick.

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