Menu Vu-Bridge | Play like a Champion!

 Several Singletons by Ben Norton

Several Singletons

Against suit contracts, a side-suit singleton can make for a devastating attack, immediately paving the way to score ruffs. However, such a lead can often make the play easy for declarer, by pickling partner’s holding.

Take the South seat and decide whether the potential risk of a singleton lead is worth it. Aside from the usual reason of not wanting to ruff with trump tricks, you'll find some subtle pointers here.

Question 1

  Your Hand
 A J 4 3
 A Q 5 3
 J 8 7 5
Q: 1 - You’ve been thrown in at the deep end.

*3 was Fourth-suit Forcing, asking for a Diamond stopper

Pass4All pass

 Your choice:
A: A. You can see two trump tricks and the A. For a Spade lead to bear fruit, you’d need to find partner with an outside entry, which would constitute your fourth trick anyway. There’s little to gain from leading your singleton, therefore, and you should prefer to take whatever tricks you can in the minors.

Not only is Diamonds the unbid suit, but declarer probably doesn't hold a stopper there, else he would have bid No-trump at some stage. Therefore, the A is most unlikely to lose, with the K either in dummy or partner’s hand. It might be necessary to pocket your Diamond tricks immediately.

Partner had the K and the suit split 3-3 in the opponents’ hands, so a Diamond lead would set the contract by two, while a black-suit attack would allow declarer to pitch two Diamonds on dummy’s Clubs and make the contract.

The singleton lead isn't best here because you only need one trick from partner.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 2

  Your Hand
 10 9 8 5 3
 K 8 5 4 3
 9 5
Q: 2 - You’ve doubled them. Now you must set them.

DbleAll pass

 Your choice:
A: A. You have a plan. After cashing the A, you intend to lead to partner’s entry and receive a Club ruff. That entry is most likely to be in Spades, but it could be in Hearts. The dummy and partner’s signal will help you decide.

To lead a Spade on the go could allow declarer to take discards on the suit, or it could just force partner’s entry before he’s ready to use it (with the Clubs blocked).

The A lead was necessary to set the hand. You would lead to partner’s A and secure a ruff as expected.

The singleton lead is right here, since you can expect partner to have an entry for his opening bid.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 3

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

34All pass

 Your choice:
A: K. There is not nearly as much to gain by leading a singleton when you also have a singleton trump, for you’d need partner to have the A to take a ruff. If you had more trumps, you would also succeed when partner had the A. That’s two chances instead of one.

Here, even if you did find partner with the A, you’d need him to have another trick to defeat the contract. You might not be able to establish a Spade trick in time, before declarer pitches a Spade on a Diamond.

The chances of exposing partner’s Diamond holding, or just doing declarer’s work for him, are great. You should prefer to lead the K, hoping to set up a trick there.

Unfortunately, partner did hold the A on the full deal, along with the Q over dummy’s King. A Diamond lead would see partner score the A Q and give you a ruff, while any other lead would give declarer an easy time. That’s the way it goes sometimes.

The singleton lead doesn't appeal this time because it needs a specific card in partner's hand in order to succeed.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 4

  Your Hand
 7 2
 A Q 7
 Q J 9 8 5 4 2
Q: 4 - Here’s a similar situation. Is the solution equivalent?

PassPassDbleAll pass

 Your choice:
A: J. Even though an opponent has bid your singleton, you should lead the suit. The key is partner’s double. He can hardly double with only red-suit honors, for the auction suggests they might not stand up. Partner certainly has a black-suit control card, in which case you have a good chance of scoring a ruff. Either black-suit Ace from partner would be good enough.

If partner hadn’t doubled, you might well have led a Diamond, hoping to take the A and two Heart tricks on partner’s return. Indeed, a Heart lead could also be right.

On the actual deal, you had to lead your singleton to defeat the hand, partner holding the A. Dummy had the K and declarer the A, so a Diamond lead would not be sufficient, with declarer able to draw trumps and establish the Clubs.

The singleton lead screams out here because of partner's double, having already limited their hand, which suggests defensive values. That and your holding two trumps.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 5

  Your Hand
 10 4
 K J 9 5 4
 K J 10 8 6
Q: 5 - Here’s a grand slam for you to break.

Pass7All pass

 Your choice:
A: 4. There’s no point leading a singleton against a grand slam, for if partner has the desired Ace, you have enough to set the contract anyway. Remember, your aim is to beat the contract, not to maximise undertricks.

You should try to find the safest lead possible. A red suit is out, potentially gifting declarer a trick with the Q or Q, while a Club lead could pick up the suit for declarer. The opposition most likely have the A K Q between them, so a trump lead rates to be safe. It’s normal procedure to lead low from a doubleton trump, but it won’t matter here.

On the full deal, any lead but a Diamond would succeed, giving declarer too much to do on these bad breaks. A Diamond would run around to his A Q, conceding the 13th trick.

The singleton lead doesn't make much sense here as you only need one trick anyway.

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!