Menu Vu-Bridge | Play like a Champion!

 Which Long Suit? by Ben Norton

Which Long Suit?

It can be difficult to choose between two long suits to lead, when neither suit has been shown by the opponents. Suit quality is a major factor, but as with every situation in bridge, you must think about the problem in the wider context of the hand and your basic defensive plan. Which suit will you lead as South in each case?

Question 1

  Your Hand
 K J 9 7 5
 4 2
 A J 10 8 7
Q: 1 - Which of your suits will you lead against 3NT?

*2=Spades and a minor
**3=stopper ask


 Your choice:
A: J. There are three main reasons why you should prefer a Club lead to a Spade:
- Your Clubs are better than your Spades and you thus need to find less in partner’s hand to set up the suit
- Partner didn’t take the opportunity to Double the artificial 3 call for the lead, suggesting he doesn’t have a useful honour there
- East is prepared for a Spade lead because you’ve already shown that suit. He doesn’t know for certain which minor you have though, so he may not be so well-placed on a Club lead

It might be that partner has the K and you can cash five quick tricks. If not, you’ll be unlucky not to be setting up the suit to cash when partner gets in with his hoped-for red suit trick.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 2

  Your Hand
 K 8 6 2
 Q J 7 6
 Q 6 4
 6 4
Q: 2 - What will you try this time?


 Your choice:
A: 6. It’s between the major suits, not only because of your length there, but also because East has denied a four-card major with his 2NT response. There isn’t much between Hearts and Spades but the suit quality. You may think that the quality is equivalent, after all you have three points and no good intermediate cards in each suit, but it's not.

In these kinds of scenarios it’s important to think about what you need from partner for a particular lead to be successful, i.e. to establish the suit here. A Spade requires partner to have the Ace, in which case you’re only setting up one trick in the suit anyway, or both the Queen and Jack. However, a Heart only needs partner to have the Ace or the King for it to work. Therefore a Heart is best, and a low one at that, because you don’t have a good spot card to support your honors.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 3

  Your Hand
 Q 6
 A J 8 2
 10 5
 A Q 10 7 2
Q: 3 - Yet another 3NT. What do you think?


 Your choice:
A: A. It’s between Hearts and Clubs. If your four-card Heart suit were a lot better than your five-card Club holding, you might be justified in kicking off with a Heart. But here there’s no reason not to lead your longest suit. As an extra point, the best technical lead is the A. You have almost all the defensive strength so partner will hardly be able to get on lead at any point.

The success of the defense will depend on you. As such there’s no point in leading a low Club, hoping partner can lead through declarer’s likely King later on. No, lead the Ace to get a look at dummy and you’ll know how to continue. If there’s J x in dummy you can play the Queen to pin the Jack, and if there’s K x you’ll play a low one, ready to cash the suit when you get in with the A.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 4

  Your Hand
 7 2
 J 8 7 5 4 3
 10 9 8 5 3
Q: 4 - Not a very inspiring collection. Still, your choice of lead could be very important.


 Your choice:
A: 7. This time you should lead neither of your long suits. Against suit contracts the name of the game is to set up quick tricks, whereas against no-trumps the focus is on establishing your long cards, which will be slow tricks. Here, it’s unlikely that you will be able to establish tricks in either Hearts or Diamonds because from the looks of your hand declarer rates to be short in those suits. A Spade is a better choice, since declarer will probably have to follow to that suit, in which case the honor you hope partner has there won’t be wasted.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 5

  Your Hand
 K Q 10 9 3
 K J 7 5
 10 7
 3 2
Q: 5 - It’s time to up the ante to 6. You can be sure that a lot of IMPs will be riding on this.

*2=fit jump, showing a good Spade suit and Heart support


 Your choice:
A: K. It’s clearly a matter of which major suit to lead. Partner took the push to the five-level, so is likely to have a lot of shape. Not only that, it looks like this is a double-fit hand, your opponents having the minors and your side the majors. No doubt partner was inspired to bid aggressively by a good Spade holding.

Partner probably has six Hearts, so you won’t be able to cash two tricks there. Besides, West is probably short in Hearts to bid this way. You’re much more likely to be able to cash two Spade tricks than two Hearts, so kick off with the K.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Overall Results

Your results:   out of    Average: 

What next? You may enjoy playing our prepared hands series.
More informations on our website:

Rate yourself:

0 - 40% We applaud your effort.
Review the subject and try again. You'll be surprised how much better you'll do.
We're here for you!!
41 - 50% Buy your mentor a cuppa and ask for clarification on the ones you got wrong.
No mentor? Make finding one a priority!
51 - 60% Nice improvement! One more review and you'll have this down solid!
61 - 80% What a good job! All that's left is some fine tuning
Over 80% Wow! It's time for you to become a mentor. Find someone who needs help and share your knowledge!