Seven Notrump

In which some people who play bridge blog about it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Defense basics: Which suit to lead

Many a contract stands or falls based on this one decision. But you're shooting blind -- you haven't seen the dummy yet. Making inferences from the bidding and from your hand is a fine art, but here are some basic guidelines, in rough order of preference.

Against no-trump contracts:

  • Lead your partner's suit. A good suit is always more powerful when led to, rather than led from.
  • Lead your own longest suit, unless it's one the opponents have bid.
  • If you have to lead a suit that opponents have bid, lead dummy's, not declarer's, suit.
  • DON'T lead a short suit that partner hasn't bid.

    Against trump contracts:

  • Lead partner's suit.
  • Lead a singleton if you have a chance of developing a trump winner. There's little point in leading a singleton if you have, say, KQ of trump, since you have an inevitable trump winner there anyway.
  • Lead an unbid suit, especially one in which you have an honor sequence.
  • Lead dummy's suit.
  • Lead trump if it might prevent dummy from ruffing; e.g. if declarer has shown a long side suit.
  • If you have significant trump length, lead your longest other suit.
  • DON'T lead a suit headed by a lone honor or by a tenace.
  • DON'T lead declarer's side suit.

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