THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
LEAD AFTER LISTENING TO THE AUCTION
Brigham Young said, “Silence may be golden, but can you think of a better way to entertain someone than to listen to him?”
Can you think of a better way to find the best opening lead than to listen to the bidding?
Look at the West hand and the auction in today’s diagram. What should West lead against four spades?
When the opponents are cruising toward a game or slam, pay attention. In particular, work out how many points each player has. And sometimes you will also know the distribution of at least one opponent’s hand — as in this deal.
North announced five hearts, four clubs and three spades; his hand had 3-5-1-4 (or perhaps 3-5-0-5 or even 3-6-0-4) distribution. He also promised extra strength, usually 15 or 16 high-card points. With a minimum, he would have raised one spade to two spades.
South showed game-invitational values with three-card heart support. Then, when he preferred four spades to four hearts, he indicated five spades.
Given that dummy is very short in diamonds, leading that suit has little appeal. (Yes, it works if East wins the first trick and shifts to a low club.) A trump is too passive. The opponents have bid quite strongly, so it is probably right to lead actively. That means choosing the club jack.
East takes dummy’s queen with his ace and returns the suit. Then the defenders can take two clubs, one diamond and one heart for down one.