The Opening Lead

Last night I was having a tutorial on how to decide on the opening lead.  (Isn’t Skype wonderful!  You can talk to each other via Skype whilst screen sharing so I could see my friend’s screen as she was teaching me.)

In case you hadn’t realised, my friend Leigh Harding runs No Fear Bridge and she’s teaching me how to play bridge.  I’ve got to the stage where we can have a game of bridge online playing against a couple of robots.


Opening Lead in a Trumps Contract

Last night we were looking at how to decide on the opening lead in a trumps contract.  She was teaching me using the sample hands on her site.

How to play bridge - the opening lead in a trumps contract

First, you have to decide which suit to lead:

  • If partner has a bid a suit, lead a card from that suit
  • If partner hasn’t bid, lead a card from an unbid suit

Which card to lead:

  • The top of a sequence of two honours, ie A from AK, J from J10 (10 counts as an honour here), Q from QJ.  Opening with an honour card promises your partner that you have the card below it.
  • Lead a low card if you have one or more honour cards but not a sequence.  Lead the 4th highest if you have 4 or more cards, the 3rd highest if you only have 3 cards
  • Lead the top card from a suit that just contains a doubleton (two cards)
  • Lead the 2nd highest if your suit contains three “rubbish” cards (ie no honour)
  • Lead a singleton
  • If you have two equal length suits, lead from the strongest.

What Not To Do

NEVER lead away from an ace.  (If you have A, K then you lead the ace as this promises partner that you have the King).  Otherwise, do not open with this suit as you will potentially give away a trick.  There is an excellent tutorial on No Fear Bridge that explains why you shouldn’t lead away from an Ace and shows you what can happen if you do.

The opening lead in a game of bridge

  • If you have 3 or more cards in a suit, don’t lead an honour unless you have the one below it.
  • Don’t lead from a doubleton if you can avoid it, unless partner bid that suit.  Don’t lead a doubleton if you hold an honour.
  • Don’t lead a singleton in a suit that your opponents bid, or if your hand has good points.