Stamford Advocate


- Frank Stewart

Opening leads are regarded as the hardest part of the game. Winning leads require imaginatio­n, visualizat­ion and luck.

To test yourself, look only at today’s West cards. North-South have a brief, straightfo­rward auction: 1NT-3NT. What do you lead as West?

In an internatio­nal match, one West led the seven of spades. Declarer won with the eight and forced out the ace of diamonds. He was sure of 10 tricks, and West ruefully told himself that next time he would lead the seven of his other major suit.

The second West realized that he had nothing to gain by leading low. East could have little or no strength. So West led the ace of spades.

When East signaled with the three, West switched to the ace of hearts, and this time East played the ten.

West then continued hearts, and the defense got three hearts, a spade and a diamond.

West could have done as well by starting with the ace of hearts, but to lead fourth highest in either major was playing a guessing game.

DAILY QUESTION You hold: SK 1082

H K 9 DJ 853 CA Q J. The dealer, at your right, opens one heart. You double, and your partner cue-bids two hearts. You bid two spades, and he tries three clubs. What do you say?

ANSWER: Though your strength is in the minimum range for a double, you must not pass. If partner were content to invite game, he would have jumped to three clubs directly. His three clubs following a strength-showing cue bid is forcing. Bid three diamonds or 3NT.

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