THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
THE RULES ARE MADE TO BE FOLLOWED
Princess Diana said, “I don’t go by the rule book. I lead from the heart, not the head.”
She was taught bridge, but I doubt that she spent much time playing. However, some bridge players go by the rule book, but the better ones use their heads.
In today’s deal, what should West lead against four spades doubled?
Suppose West chooses the heart three. East takes the trick with his queen, but what should he do next?
After East opened one heart, South was tempted to pre-empt in spades, keeping his diamond suit as a secret weapon. However, wondering if his side might own the deal, he settled for one spade. West had the values for a two-heart raise. North then made a pre-emptive jump to three spades, showing four spades and a weak hand. (With game-invitational or stronger values, he would have cue-bid three hearts.) East bid the game he expected to make. South continued to four spades, unsure who could make what, but confident this contract would not be expensive. East doubled for penalty.
It should be clear to West that South is sacrificing. When that is the case at a high level, it is (almost) always right to lead a trump.
If West does that, the contract will fail. West will get back in with a diamond winner and can lead another trump to hold declarer to two ruffs in the dummy and nine tricks in all (six spades, two ruffs and the diamond jack, which can be established).
Similarly, if West leads a heart, East should win the trick and shift to a trump.