The Lead Against A Suit Declaration





Against a suit declaration, the original lead of the longest suit is

not in the least imperative. Strength is far more important than

length. As the tables show, many high-card combinations are opened very

differently, the theory being to win with honors, not to establish

small cards. If the leader be a Whist-player, he must remember that

Auction is a very different game. The Trump has not been selected by

chance, but has been named because of his adversaries' great length and

strength. The establishment of an adverse suit against a Trump

declaration is, therefore, an almost unknown proceeding.



The object of the leader against a suit declaration is to get as many

tricks as possible, and he should utilize the two best methods for so

doing: namely, winning with his own and his partner's high cards, and

ruffing with weak Trumps.



He should avoid opening a tenace suit, regardless of its length. A

singleton, if he be short in Trumps, is probably his best lead; his

second choice should be high cards in sequence. When his hand does not

contain either of these advantageous openings, he should try his

partner's suit.



It goes without saying that if the leader have both the Ace and King of

a suit, it is always well to lead the King, not only for the purpose of

giving information and taking a practically assured trick, but also in

order to obtain a look at the Dummy, which will enable him to more

advantageously size up the entire situation.



When his partner has not shown strength, the leader need never hesitate

about starting with a strengthening card of a short suit which has not

been declared. He is also thoroughly justified, if weak in Trumps, in

asking for a force by leading the top of a two-card suit. This, while

not nearly so desirable an opening as a singleton, is better than

leading from a tenace. When the leader is long in Trumps, he should

open his own or his partner's strength.



The leader should bear in mind as a vital principal that, against a

suit declaration, a suit containing an Ace should never be opened

originally, unless the Ace (or King, if that card be also held) be led.

The leader should observe this convention, regardless of the length of

the suit. The knowledge that a leader can be relied upon not to have

the Ace unless he lead it will be of material assistance to his partner

in the play. It is sometimes very tempting to lead low with an Ace,

hoping that a King may be found in the Second Hand, and that the

partner's Queen may capture the first trick. This play will

occasionally prove successful, but in the long run, it is a

trick-loser, there being so many instances of singletons, even of

single Kings, and also of two-card suits, where, unless the Ace be led,

the Declarer will win the first trick and discard the other card.



The leader must observe the distinction between opening a long and a

short suit which has always been in force in Whist, Bridge, and

Auction--that is, when leading a suit headed by a Knave or smaller

card, if long, open from the bottom; if short, from the top. For

example, holding Knave, 9, 7, 2, the 2 should be led, but holding

Knave, 7, 2, the Knave is the card to open.



One other conventional lead should be mentioned, which, as an original

opening, is advisable against a Trump declaration only. It is the lead

of a two-card suit consisting of Ace, King. The Ace first, and then

King, signifies no more of the suit, and a desire to ruff. Of course,

by analogy, the lead of the King before the Ace shows more of the suit.





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