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.





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