A LOT OF BRIDGE WRITERS HAVE GOTTEN VERY RICH WRITING BOOKS ON HOW TO LEAD, and many of those writers want you to believe there is a real art to leading in Bridge. There isnít. I will show you how to make leading very easy, so FOLLOW MY RULES EACH AND EVERY TIME.
FOUR SETS OF RULES
THERE IS ONE SET FOR EACH TYPE OF LEAD YOU MUST MAKE:
∑ type 1:† leading to any trump contract BELOW THE SLAM OR SLAM TRY LEVEL
By slam try, I simply mean that if the opponents try for slam by bidding Gerber or Blackwood but then sign off.
I am going to teach you how to make leads against the slam contracts first simply because such leads are VERY EASY. EACH TYPE OF SLAM CONTRACT ONLY TAKES ONE STEP OR ONE RULE. FIRST, LETíS DEAL WITH THE LEAD AGAINST NOTRUMP SLAMS:† SIX OR SEVEN NOTRUMP OR THE CONTRACT OF FOUR NOTRUMP WHEN THE OPPONENTS LOOKED FOR SLAM BUT SIGNED OFF.
THERE IS ONLY ONE RULE FOR THIS LEAD and the rule is simply this:
HOW TO LEAD AGAINST TRUMP SLAMS
AGAIN THERE IS ONLY ONE RULE, and the rule is:† SURPRISE THE DECLARER!!!!
REMEMBER THE RULES:
HOW TO LEAD TO TRUMP CONTRACTS below the SLAM LEVEL
STEP ONE:† TAKE A DEEP BREATH
THIS breath will do two things for you. First it will give you extra oxygen to improve focus, and secondly, it will keep you from grabbing on to a card and leading the damn thing.
STEP TWO in leading to a trump contract below the slam level:† HIDE YOUR HAND
from yourself. Step two never involves looking at your hand, and if you do look at your hand, you will just SCREW YOURSELF UP. Review the bidding to answer this question:† DO I LEAD TRUMP? THE decision as to whether to lead trump or not MUST BE ANSWERED BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE...EXCEPT THAT DEEP BREATH AND THE ANSWER only comes from the bidding...nothing else.
Example 1:† first opponent bids 1 heart...pass...second opponent bids two hearts..pass..first opponents bids three hearts..pass...second opponent bids four hearts..all pass. Notice the creeping bid: whenever the opponents "creep up" in a contract...showing a fit and nothing else...YOU MUST LEAD TRUMP BECAUSE they will only make this contract WITH RUFFS IN DUMMY. The only reason you EVER LEAD TRUMP IS to PULL THE RUFFING POWER OUT OF DUMMY.
IN BRIDGE, THE DECLARER HAS THE FOLLOWING ADVANTAGE: HE can see AND PLAY FROM TWO HANDS, the defender can only play from one. But as in Chess, the defenders also have a big BIG ADVANTAGE -- they are AHEAD OF DECLARER BY ONE TEMPO. THEY GET TO PLAY FIRST. THEY CAN KNOCK OUT THAT ACE OF CLUBS .....BEFORE DECLARER CAN KNOCK OUT THEIR ACE OF HEARTS. WHEN YOU LEAD TRUMP....you are THROWING AWAY A TEMPO. YOU ARE THROWING AWAY YOUR ADVANTAGE, AND YOU MUST ONLY DO THIS FOR ONLY ONE REASON -- to GET THE TRUMP OFF THE DUMMY! You may give up a trump trick sometimes in doing that, but it is worth it.
IF THEY CREEP UP IN THEIR CONTRACT...lead trump!!! YOU have all been taught OBAR -- OBAR IS DESIGNED TO push the opponents up a level. If you push them up...LEAD TRUMP!!!!
1 HEART...PASS...FOUR HEARTS. If the four hearts is very strong, they will not need ruffs in dummy and you are wasting your time. If the four hearts is weak with lots of trump (Bergen) there will be too many trump in dummy, and again you are wasting your time. A contract bid very strongly with probably points left over means NO TRUMP LEAD. IN that situation, you must not give up your tempo but get whatever tricks you can get and get them fast.
1 spade by first opponent...two clubs by second opponent...two spades by first opponent...three diamonds by second opponent...four spades by first opponent..all pass. Again this is a kind of creeping up, but with a sharp difference -- ONLY ONE PERSON EVER BID THE TRUMP SUIT!!!! IF DUMMY NEVER BIDS TRUMP, OR BIDS NOTRUMP FIRST, DO NOT LEAD TRUMP because dummy ain't got any to trump with. Donít waste your tempo pulling trump off a dummy without trump!
TWO EXCEPTIONS (of course)
HOW TO LEAD:
The reason you lead small from ace, x, x, is so that when you get in with the ace you can now lead a third trick in trump hopefully clearing the dummy of trump.
step 1:† take a deep breath
step 2:† answer the question - do I lead trump??
step 3:† if the answer is yes - decide on the card to lead
step 4:† if the answer is no -- I don't lead trump, answer the following question:
DO I make a short suit lead or a long suit lead???? THERE ARE NO MIDDLE SUIT LEADS!!!!!!
A short suit lead in bridge is the following: The lead of a suit of either a singleton or doubleton while holding EXACTLY THREE TRUMP CARDS (NOT FOUR, NOT TWO, BUT THREE!), a singleton or doubleton when HOLDING THREE TRUMP CARDS. IF IT IS A DOUBLETON YOU LEAD high then low. The reason for a short suit lead is pretty obvious - you are attempting to get one or more ruffs in your short suit. Now, YOUR PARTNER HAS TO GET IN. A SHORT SUIT LEAD IS pretty silly if the bidding plus a look at your hand will tell you THAT THERE IS NO POSSIBLE WAY YOUR PARTNER HAS ENOUGH POINTS TO GET INTO THE LEAD, so keep that point in mind. If you don't have a short suit lead or wish not to make the short suit lead
you only have ONE OTHER OPTIONÖ..
THIS IS WHERE YOUR PARTNERíS BID OF A SUIT COMES IN. At this time YOU LEAD PARTNERS BID SUIT. WHY THE LONG SUIT LEAD? -- WE WANT TO DINK THE DECLARER! DINKING MEANS: WE WANT TO FORCE THE DECLARER TO RUFF IN HIS OWN HAND OUR LONG SUIT. EVERY TIME HE HAS TO RUFF IN HIS HAND, HE IS in danger of losing control of trump TO US. That is why we do not lead a short suit with four or more trump. We have a better chance of getting control of the trump suit if we have four or more by dinking the Declarer.
1. first you decide if trump should be led without looking at your hand
2. then you decide which trump to lead, or you decide on a short suit or long suit lead
3. then if long suit, you decide on the suit
4. finally you decide on the card to lead
If you do those steps IN EXACTLY THAT ORDER, you will END UP WITH ONLY ONE RIGHT LEAD EVERY TIME.
25 percent of made contracts are made based on a bad lead. If you follow the above rules, YOU WILL MAKE THE RIGHT LEAD AT LEAST 95 PERCENT OF THE TIME.