Jeff Lehman

Which diamond to lead?

As East you hold T87  JT9  AQT82  A2 (Mansfield, MA regional, Nov 18, Daylight Open Pairs first session, Board 27) and hear the following auction:


West North East South
 P  1  P  2
 P  2NT  P  3NT
 All pass      


What do you lead?

Diamonds seems like the obvious suit in which to seek tricks, and so the question might transform itself to which diamond do you lead?  I tried the A, which is our “power lead”, meaning it asks partner to unblock an honor if he holds one and to show count if he does not.  Typically, the ace lead would be from a much stronger suit, something like AKJTxx where leader is trying to determine whether to fell the opponent’s doubleton queen (unless partner owns the queen, in which case he will play it under the ace) or to look for partner’s entry to hopefully lead through declarer’s Qxx.  However, the power lead is also useful with a somewhat weaker holding provided leader holds a side entry.

In this case the ace lead was hoped to allow me to continue by playing small if it appeared that the opponents’ diamonds were Jxx opposite Kx or by playing the queen if it appeared that the opponents’ diamonds were Jx opposite Kxx.  Of course, should I be so lucky that partner owns one of the two missing honors and a second diamond, that would be great, too.

This time, the ace lead worked well, as the entire hand was


Dealer: South
Vul: #27, none


Partner played the 9 (no honor, upside down count), and a welcomed card to see, as it promotes my 8, and my Q continuation pinned the J.  When in later with  CA, I could win three more diamonds for a one trick set.

When I saw the hand record and realized that a heart lead would produce an even bigger set, I worried about the matchpoint result.  But when the scores were posted, I was pleased to see us get 13½ of available 16 mps.

1 Comment

LIndaNovember 24th, 2011 at 6:33 pm

The only time I can think of where leading the DQ would be better than leading the DA would be if partner had Kx and declarer had J9xx. than partner would overtake and lead one through. You could force out declarer’s stopper and have four diamonds and a club to take when you got in on the CA. This might still not be a brilliant matchpoint score though.

Interesting choice of leads. Well done

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