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 Which One? by Ben Norton

Which One?

When partner has shown two suits in the auction it can often be difficult to know which one to lead. As South on these five questions you will be on lead after your partner has shown two suits in the auction. Which suit will you go for?

Question 1

  Your Hand
 10 6 4
 J 7 6 5 2
 9 3
 7 6 3
Q: 1 - Partner overcalls 2 and later bids Spades. What will you lead?


 Your choice:
A: 9. To overcall 2 partner most likely has six of them, but he only needs four Spades to bid 2, so there’s more potential to take tricks in Diamonds than in Spades.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 2

  Your Hand
 8 3
 Q 6 4 2
 J 8 2
 J 9 7 6
Q: 2 - This time partner opens 1 then freely rebids 3. Your thoughts?


 Your choice:
A: 2. To bid 3 partner most likely has five of them, since he probably wouldn’t bid at all with only nine cards in Spades and Diamonds, and if he did he’d Double. If he had six Spades and four Diamonds he would have just rebid 2. Thus your side probably has more cards in Diamonds than in Spades, not to mention that you have a Diamond honor, which will support partner’s cards in the suit.

By Doubling then bidding 3NT East has just shown a hand that was too good to overcall 1NT initially. It’s likely that he has stops in both pointed suits though. As such, it’s best to lead a small Diamond. Leading the Jack would gain when there’s a stray honor in dummy and declarer just has small cards, so you could retain the lead and fire another one through, but here declarer rates to have a Diamond stopper, so leading small is best. This way you can pick the suit up if for example there’s Q x in dummy with K 9 x in declarer’s hand.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 3

  Your Hand
 A 5 4 2
 K J 7 4 3
 10 9 2
Q: 3 - Partner has bids Hearts and Clubs. Your lead…


 Your choice:
A: 5. It’s best to lead your singleton Heart in the hope of taking some ruffs. Partner will know it’s a singleton because you Passed 2 instead of correcting to 2. Even if partner doesn’t have the A you can win the A and try to put him on lead with a minor suit, most likely Clubs, to give you a ruff.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 4

  Your Hand
 8 4
 A J 7 5
 K 8 5 3
 9 8 2
Q: 4 - What about this time?

*2=both majors, 5/4 or better either way around


 Your choice:
A: 8. Even though your side has longer, and probably stronger Hearts than Spades, it would be very dangerous to lead the A. Declarer could easily have the King, in which case you’d be giving away a trick, but even Q x x in his hand would be too much. It’s better to lead your doubleton Spade. This way you won’t give anything away, meanwhile you stand to set up some Spade tricks and might even be able to take a ruff. If the defense needs to switch to Hearts, partner can attack the suit from his side.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 5

  Your Hand
 Q 8 6 5 2
 8 6 4 3
 8 6 2
Q: 5 - East-West land in 4. What will you lead?

*2NT=both minors, 5/5 or better


 Your choice:
A: 6. If you were to lead a minor suit you’d choose a Club, because you have fewer cards in that suit and can thus hope to establish more tricks there. However, if you think about partner’s likely shape you’ll soon come to realise that he probably has Heart shortness. Partner rates to hold at least two Spades, so that leaves him with a singleton or void Heart.

By leading a Heart you pave the way for a later ruff when you get in with the A. It could even be that you’re giving partner a Heart ruff straight off the bat, and in this case he’d read your lead as a suit preference signal. Because you don’t have an entry in either minor you should lead a middling Heart, then if partner ruffs trick one he won’t stretch to make a potentially damaging underlead at trick two to get you back on lead.

When partner has shown two suits in the auction and you find yourself on lead, think about the offensive potential that each suit has. Don’t worry too much about being passive, because partner will have strength in his suits, unless you have the Ace, in which case counting on partner to hold the King may not be so wise.

Also, consider what you want to do. If you want to establish tricks, against a suit contract lead the suit which you think your side has fewer in, because then you stand to set up winners that won’t get ruffed, or if you think you have a good chance of getting a ruff, lead that suit. But when on lead to a No-trump contract it’s generally best to lead the suit you expect to have more cards in. Do take time to construct partner’s hand as well. It could be that you need to lead neither of partner’s suits, but you’d better have a good reason!

Your result so far:
Open Question

Overall Results

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What next? You may enjoy playing our prepared hands series.
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