Bridge & other card games/Card Play


1) You hold  clubs  AK10753 - Partner QJ98 . Neither have outside entry.  Opponents in 3NT.
   Right or wrong I led Ace.- dummy small singleton. How do we play.
 2) Opponents bid strongly to 6NT. You are on lead with Axxx in Spades. Nothing outside. Partner has KJxx and declarer QX, with 12 tricks on top outside. What play?


1. Leading the Ace from AKxxxx with no outside entry is a losing proposition. If partner happened to hold queen doubleton and declarer jack third or fourth then leading fourth best on opening lead would give your side the first 6 tricks...leading the Ace gives your side at most 2 tricks. If partner holds a doubleton plus an outside entry in another suit and declarer has QJX (or Qxx with Jx in dummy or Jxx with Qx in dummy) then, if you lead fourth best and partner is able to gain the lead with his outside entry, your side takes 5 tricks...leading the Ace gives your side at most 2 tricks. There are many other holdings that further illustrate this. Leading the Ace only wins if declarer has queen doubleton and partner has the jack (or jack doubleton in dummy).

Defenders usually lead the Ace from a long, strong holding missing one honor...usually the queen. They might hold AKJ109x. The lead of the Ace mandates that partner unblocks (plays the queen) at trick one. If partner does not have the queen, he gives a count signal and opening leader can be certain that the queen is held by the declarer. I guess you do not play this method. In the case you gave, leading fourth best makes things easy. Partner plays the jack, then the queen and you take six tricks. Leading the Ace gives partner many ways to go wrong unnecessarily. However, if I were partner I would play the queen at trick one. If you infer from this that partner also holds the jack, you could lead low at trick 2 and that should untangle the suit.

2. While it may be right sometimes to lead an Ace against a suit slam, it is usually best to make a safe passive lead against 6NT. Partner rates to have very few high cards and leading an Ace, or leading away from any honor, is much more likely to give declarer a trick. The only time I would even consider it is if the opponents have shown one or two long running suits that would give them lots of tricks if they gain the lead...maybe 1D-1S-3D-3S-6NT. Then I might lead the Ace as my best hope. You did not supply the auction so I have no idea if this is the case. However, in most other types of auctions, most experts would tend to make a passive  lead and the opponents would make 6NT. The fact that a certain lead may work one time does not make it right in the long run.

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I can answer questions on bidding and on cardplay with the caveat that the former may necessarily involve some subjectivity. I have been playing tournament bridge for over 20 years and I have won several regional tournaments.

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