Learn to Play Bridge Like a Boss

Learn to Play Bridge Like a Boss
Click to Buy

About Me

H. Anthony Medley is an Attorney, an MPAA-accredited film critic, and author of Learn to Play Bridge Like A Boss,Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of Being Interviewed, and UCLA Basketball: The Real Story. He is a Silver Life Master and an ACBL-accredited Director and the author of a bridge column for a Los Angeles newspaper.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

What to Lead Against No Trump When Partner Has Made a Lead-Directing Double

Here’s your hand sitting West:


Here’s the auction with North dealer:

West          North         East       South
                  P            P              1N
P                2C*         D**          2D
P                2N           P              3N
All Pass


What do you lead? In the actual hand, West led the club 7. Here is the four hand layout:


West                         East
J32                         A107
K54                         98632
9643                       Void
A97                         QJ1062


South has seven sure tricks, five diamonds and two hearts. With a club lead, which is certain with the lead-directing double, that make eight tricks because the king will be good. After taking the diamonds he leads a spade to his king. Because the ace was East’s only entry, he ducked, so South had seven tricks and when the heart king is onside, South made 3.

The mistake was West’s opening lead. He must lead the Ace and then follow with the club 9. That forces out South’s king and when South leads a spade, East can rise with his ace and run the three remaining club tricks for down one.

In this situation, West must lead his club ace. His partner has made a lead directing double. He must have a reason. If he doesn’t have the ace or the king, he must have at least five good clubs. Why else make a lead-directing double? But when West does not lead the ace, what is east to think? South bid 3N over his lead-directing double. The obvious conclusion is that he has both the ace and king of clubs when his partner doesn’t lead one of them.

West, an experienced player, was upset that East didn’t take his spade ace and lead a club to his ace, but how was East to know that West had the Ace? He led the club 7. As far as East knows, he has two or three little clubs and is just being a good partner by leading the suit.

Don’t make an ambiguous lead when you can tell your partner something important. One of the axioms of bridge defense on opening lead is “Don’t lead an ace and don’t underlead an ace.” That doesn’t apply when defending no trump when you often underlead an ace if it’s your longest suit. But when you are defending no trump and your partner makes a lead-directing double, always lead your highest card in your partner’s suit, even if it’s ace or king doubleton. That tells him the layout and aids him in the play of the hand. West’s lead of the club 7 (his lowest club) was worse than awful because it told partner nothing and implied that's all he had in clubs.

In the actual hand, just about everybody made 3 or 4 no trump, undoubtedly because no defender made a lead-directing double of the 2 club Stayman bid. This pair got halfway there but was done in by a terribly ambiguous lead.

No comments:

Post a Comment