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The Tables








The tables which appear at the end of this chapter should be carefully
examined by all who are not absolutely letter perfect in the
conventional leads. The present tendency of players taking up Auction
is to regard the leads as unimportant, and this often results
disastrously. The quondam Whist-player realizes the necessity of having
every lead at his fingers' ends, but for the benefit of those who have
never participated in the older game, it may be said that the
conventional leads have been determined upon only after years of
experimentation; as a consequence of which it is known just which card,
in the long run, will win the most tricks.

A leader who, on the spur of the moment, during the play, tries
something else, is taking a course sure to deceive an intelligent
partner, and one which will probably reduce the number of his tricks.

The one combination that seems to tempt some players to disregard the
conventional, is the King, Queen, Ten, against a No-trump. With this
holding the King is manifestly most advantageous, as if the Declarer
hold Ace, Knave, it will either force the Ace and hold the tenace over
the Knave or win the trick. Without the Ten, a small card should be
led, but many players fail to recognize the important distinction.

Every one attempting to play the game should learn the conventional
leads, and having once mastered this comparatively easy lesson, should
never allow a childish impulse, such as "having a hunch," to induce an
experiment with a lead not recognized as sound.

The various tables follow.


OPENING LEADS AGAINST A NO-TRUMP DECLARATION

With a Without a
Holding Reentry Reentry

Ace, King, Queen, Knave, with or without others Ace Ace
Ace, King, Queen, Ten, with one or more others Ace Ace
Ace, King, Queen, Ten King King
Ace, King, Queen, with three or more others Ace Ace
Ace, King, Queen, with one or two others King King
Ace, King, Knave, Ten, with two or more others Ace Ace
Ace, King, Knave, Ten, with one other Ace Knave
Ace, King, Knave, Ten King Knave
Ace, King, Knave, with three or more others Ace Ace
Ace, King, Knave, with two others Ace 4th best
Ace, King, Knave, with one other King King
Ace, King, and five others Ace Ace
Ace, King, and four others King 4th best
Ace, King, and two or three others 4th best 4th best
Ace, Queen, Knave, Ten, with or without others Ace Queen
Ace, Queen, Knave, with one or more others Ace Queen
Ace, Queen, Ten, Nine, and three others Ace Ten
Ace, Queen, Ten, Nine, with less than seven Ten Ten
Ace, Queen, and five others Ace 4th best
Ace, Queen, and two, three, or four others 4th best 4th best
Ace, Knave, Ten, with one or more others Knave Knave
Ace, Knave, with two or more others 4th best 4th best
Ace, Ten, Nine, with one or more others Ten Ten
Ace, Ten, Eight, with one or more others 4th best 4th best

King, Queen, Knave, Ten, with or without others King King
King, Queen, Knave, with one or more others King King
King, Queen, Ten, with one or more others King King
King, Queen, with five or more others King King
King, Queen, with four or more others King 4th best
King, Queen, with two or three others 4th best 4th best
King, Knave, Ten, with one or more others Knave Knave
King, Knave, with two or more others 4th best 4th best
King, Ten, Nine, with one or more others Ten Ten
King, Ten, with two or more others 4th best 4th best

Queen, Knave, Ten, with one or more others Queen Queen
Queen, Knave, Nine, with one or more others Queen Queen
Queen, Knave, with two or more others 4th best 4th best
Queen, Ten, Nine, with one or more others Ten Ten

Knave, Ten, Nine, with one or more others Knave Knave
Knave, Ten, Eight, with one or more others Knave Knave
Knave, Ten, with two or more others 4th best 4th best

Ten, Nine, Eight, with one or more others Ten Ten
Ten, Nine, Seven, with one or more others Ten Ten

In all the above cases in which the fourth best is given as the lead,
should the hand contain an intermediate sequence, headed by an 8, or
higher card, the top of such sequence should be led instead of the
fourth best. For example, King, Knave, 9, 8, 2, lead the 9; King,
Knave, 9, 7, 2, lead the 7.

In any case not mentioned, in which there is not an intermediate
sequence, headed by an 8 or higher card, the fourth best should be
opened.

The lead of the fourth best, when it is an 8 or higher card, should be
avoided whenever possible. For example, Ace, Queen, 10, 8, 6, 2, lead
the 6; but never lead the lowest when holding more than four, so from
Ace, Queen, 10, 8, 2, lead the 8.

In all the Ace-King combinations in the above table, in which the Ace
is the conventional lead, it is selected in preference to the King,
because the highest card of the partner is desired; when the King is
the lead, the suit is not of sufficient strength to make that play
advisable.


OPENING LEADS AGAINST A TRUMP DECLARATION

Holding Lead

Ace, King, Queen, Knave King, then Knave
Ace, King, Queen King, then Queen
Ace, King, Knave King
Ace, King, and one or more others King
Ace, King, without any others Ace, then King
Ace, Queen, Knave[22] Ace, then Queen
Ace, Queen, and one or more others[22] Ace, then lowest
Ace, Knave, Ten[22] Ace
Ace, and one or more small Ace

King, Queen, Knave, with or without others King
King, Queen, Ten, with or without others King
King, Queen, with or without others King
King, Knave, Ten, with or without others[22] Knave
King, Knave, and one or more others[22] Lowest or 4th best
King, Ten, Nine, and one or more others[22] Ten
King, and two or more others[22] Lowest or 4th best

Queen, Knave, Ten, with or without others Queen
Queen, Knave, Nine, with or without others Queen
Queen, Knave, and two or more others 4th best[23]
Queen, Knave, and one or no others Queen
Queen, Ten, Nine, with or without others Ten

Knave, Ten, with or without others Knave

Ten, Nine, with or without others Ten

[22] These suits unless declared by partner should not be
opened, as they are disadvantageous leads against a Trump
declaration.

[23] This is the conventional lead from this combination, but
many good players prefer the Queen, especially when the
indications are that the hand is not evenly divided. When long
suits have been announced, the chances are that the suit led will
be ruffed on the third round, if not earlier. If the King be in
the Second Hand and the Ace in the Third, a trick can be gained
by leading the Queen whenever the suit does not last for three
rounds. Therefore, unless the hand indicate that the suits are
evenly divided, the Queen seems to be the better lead.





Next: The Play

Previous: How To Lead To A Double



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