Success in this department requires skill in reading the opponents bidding—including what they did not bid—plus….

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Reading Eagle – 24 May 1952

Football has its two-platoon system, baseball has its specialists, but the bridge player cannot call on a pinch leader. He has to do his own bidding, his own playing, and his own selection of opening leads. Success in this department requires skill in reading the opponents bidding—including what they did not bid—plus a knack that may be two-thirds luck and only one-third nose, but that nevertheless involves far more than rule of thumb. You know that rule—lead the card nearest your thumb.

Test your skill with the following hands. South opened with one no-trump, North raised to two, and South went to three. As West, what would you lead?

a) 

b) 

c) 

d) 

e) 

f) 

Answers to Bridge Quiz

(a)  The Jack of spades. This is the lead least likely to surrender a trick; most likely to strike partner’s length. Any other lead is likely to help the declarer without bringing you much closer to developing a trick of your own.

(b) The seven of hearts. We don’t guarantee this lead, but it would be the height of optimism to expect to bring in your own spade suit when you haven’t the remotest sign of a re-entry. Best chance seems to be to try to find partner’s strength—usually more likely to be in a major suit if opponents have failed to bid it.

(c) The five of spades. Here you have two possible re-entries and should try to establish your long suit immediately.

(d) The four of hearts. The opponents might have all four top honors and still be able to win only two tricks if each has but two. Your long suit may come home. as you have two possible entries, and in any case the lead is most unlikely to cost a trick.

(e) The Queen of hearts. A diamond lead may give the opponents, a trick they could not win for themselves. The diamonds are better re-entries for the hearts then the hearts would be for the diamonds.

(f)  The Ace of diamonds. The lead of the diamond Jack gains when partner has exactly two and either declarer has four to the Queen, or dummy has Queen and two small. The lead of the Ace is superior if either opponent has Queen and one, or if declarer has Queen and two small and your partner has an entry, or if partner happens to have the blank Queen.