What do you lead?

March 31, 2009 at 7:11 am 14 comments

I was given this hand recently, I believe it is IMP scoring.

c xx
h1 Q9
d1 AJ98x
c A10xx

RHO deals and opens 2NT 20-22 and now a puppet Stayman sequences puts you on lead to 4S – a 4-4 fit. Along the way dummy cues 1st or 2nd in clubs, declarer in hearts.

NB: just for today I have changed comments so that they are not automatically published. The idea is to let everybody make their choice of leads in a neutral atmosphere. Comments will then be put up tomorrow. Comments made other than on this post – if any – will be approved during the course of the day….

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Entry filed under: defence, Uncategorized.

It’s my blog and I get the last word, don’t I? The denoument to the opening lead….

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Simon Hinge  |  April 1, 2009 at 8:12 am

    I lead a trump and because it is a problem, I know I should have a reason!!

    Reply
  • 2. Ben Thompson  |  April 1, 2009 at 7:39 am

    DA, planning to cash partner’s K shortly afterwards. Seems like one of them with D control probably should have kicked, therefore they probably don’t have it. If we were cashing 3 diamonds, I expect I can get back in with CA to give partner a ruff anyway, so I don’t think the nifty low diamond lead is called for.

    Reply
  • 3. Dwayne Hoffman  |  April 1, 2009 at 12:14 am

    I lead trump calmly. No way I’m firing a blind ace into the dummy. Additionally, leading a diamond would have been my first pick if not for the holding.

    Reply
  • 4. John Montgomery  |  March 31, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    Presumably their auction has gone something like:

    2NT-3C
    3D (no 5CM) – 3H (I have four spades)
    3S (so do I) – 4C (club control)
    4H (heart control) – 4S
    Pass

    Does this mean that the opponents are lacking a diamond control, so that partner has the king and you can underlead in diamonds? I don’t believe it. You have an eleven count and if partner has a king, that gives our side 14 high with 26 for them. Presumably they had other ways to bid that would have put them in 4S without all the cuebidding, if their values added up to game only. I think that opener has the king of diamonds and chose to cue his heart ace instead.

    The opponents’ bidding has told you that they are close to slam, so passive defense will not work. There is no chance your side will have two more tricks in high cards to go with your two aces. You must not lead a trump (the normal choice if the opponents had bid game without a slam try). You have to give partner a ruff. The best chance must be to find partner with a singleton diamond. Lead the ace of diamonds.

    Even if partner somehow turns up with Kx (or singleton king) of diamonds, with the suit breaking 3-3, you can still beat this. Partner will return to your ace of clubs at trick three to get his ruff. This fails only if dummy’s club control turns out to be a void.

    What about the alternative of underleading the ace of clubs? The idea would be to play for dummy to hold the king (for his control-bid), and hope partner has Qx. This seems very remote. Declarer is overwhelmingly likely to have the queen of clubs as part of his twenty-plus points. Finally, you could try leading the ace of clubs, hoping to give a club ruff and get the lead back in diamonds. That could work, but partner must be more likely to have a singleton in the suit where you have five cards.

    Reply
  • 5. Jonathan  |  March 31, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    I shall lead DA; partner shouldn’t have more than a queen.
    A stiff diamond seems as likely as anything, and we can cope with
    Kx, if he finds it from somewhere. Jonathan

    Reply
  • 6. Peter Gill  |  March 31, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    I would lead a boring small spade.
    Underleading CA is very dangerous if dummy has short clubs.

    Reply
  • 7. Ian Thomson  |  March 31, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    low club -assuming that have shown plenty of strength 2nd choice a trump

    Reply
  • 8. Terry Strong  |  March 31, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    I would lead the Ace of Diamonds . This is my reasoning.

    I hold 11 HCP including two Aces, yet the opposition have still have elected to look for slam. In particular dummy has made a cue bid in clubs. That leads to the implication that they hold a singleton or void in clubs and probably have 7-9 HCP to explore slam. Therefore your partner is unlikely to hold values.

    If dummy has a singleton or void club and 4 spades, then dummy will have 8 or 9 cards in in the red suits. There is good chance dummy could hold 4 or 5 diamonds. Opener has at least 2 diamonds and possibly more since they denied 4 hearts. This means that there is a good chance that your partner may hold a singleton or void diamond.

    That is why I lead a diamond hoping for pd to get a ruff and then return to my hand with a club and hopefully collect a second ruff to take the contract off.

    Reply
  • 9. Khokan Bagchi  |  March 31, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Given that LHO has made a slam try, underleading the CA with a view to giving a third round ruff after a misguess at trick one doesn’t figure to work. Therefore, I’d lead the DA and hope for the following layout, or similar:

    KQxx
    Jxxx
    Kxxx
    x

    AJxx
    AK
    Qxx
    KQJx

    Reply
  • 10. Bill Jacobs  |  March 31, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Diamond ace.

    It would be nice to know if RHO denied ace or king of diamonds with the heart cue.

    Reply
  • 11. andrew webb  |  March 31, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Can I change my mind? I think I prefer Ace and a low diamond. Partner can quite plausibly have a singleton, and even a doubleton may be enough.

    Reply
  • 12. Chris Mulley  |  March 31, 2009 at 10:28 am

    LHO, on the presumed auction we have been given, has shown exactly 4 spades and less than 4 hearts. I think there are four options as to what is going on here. Hopefully the answers to a couple of questions will give me a hint as to what is going on here.

    The first option is that they diagnosed that neither of them had 2nd round diamond control (leaving partner with the DK). Surely partner can’t have anything else if that is the case and, indeed, LHO will have to have distribution to compensate – presumably something like a trick source in a minor (looking at my hand, clubs is the most likely candidate).

    The second option is that LHO has a hand which does have 2nd round control of diamonds, but does not want to try for slam unless it is opposite a diamond control. A diamond holding like Kxx(x) is a possibility.

    The third option is that it was merely a mild slam try by responder (saying nothing about diamonds) which was rejected. If that is the case, with my 11 HCP, partner rates to have nothing (or perhaps even less).

    The fourth option (playing against not-so-good players) is that they are trying to impress me with their ability to cue-bid and they are not actually making any slam tries at all.

    If it is option 1, presumably we are cashing two diamonds and the AC, and partner will need to be able to get a ruff in dummy’s “trick source” without being over-ruffed to set this.

    If it is option 2, I still don’t think that this contract is dying of natural causes, so I will need to find partner a ruff to give us any chance of beating this.

    If it is option 3, I think the only chance is for partner to be getting two ruffs in a minor (or for me to score QH with one ruff).

    If it is option 4, who knows? This contract might be dying of natural causes.

    Overall, I think the lead which best caters to the first three options is the DA. If partner has a singleton diamond, we might get two diamond ruffs to beat the contract immediately. If the sight of dummy indicates that the club ruff is likely, I can try that and might still score my HQ (or partner might cash the DK).

    Against reasonable opponents, I don’t think this contract is going off if I defend passively. Of the aggressive options, looking at my hand I rate the diamond ruff as a better chance than hoping for a mis-guess in clubs by underleading my Ace, mainly because in a number of my options partner can’t have as much as the CQ.

    MY ANSWER: Ace of Diamonds

    Reply
  • 13. sartaj  |  March 31, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Trump seems normal.

    Reply
  • 14. andrew webb  |  March 31, 2009 at 7:26 am

    a low diamond – seems significant that South has cued H not D over North’s C cue (guessing the auction & assuming all cues are 1st/2nd, not just North’s).

    Reply

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