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A Lead Problem from the Tolle
by Ian Walsh

WestNorthEastSouth
-
3diamond
End
1heart
4heart
Dbl
5diamond
3club(1)
5heart
(1)A fit-jump agreeing hearts
and showing a good club suit

After an aggressive auction we pushed the opponents to the 5-level and with two aces I was hopeful of a successful defence if partner could contribute a trick. What should I lead at trick one?

     
   
spade A 8 5 2
heart 9
diamond Q 10 7 4
club A Q 3 2
     


I thought along the following lines:

    1. If I credited the opposition with 25 points for their game and added my 12, partner had made a free bid with circa 3 points. To justify bidding three diamonds with such skimpy values suggested a 5-card or longer suit together with perhaps a bit of shape. Didn't seem likely partner had the ace of diamonds.

 

    1. If partner had five diamonds we are missing four which were likely to be split 3-1. If they were 2-2 they would probably have doubled five diamonds instead of taking the push to five hearts. If didn't look like we had a diamond trick coming our way.

 

  1. Opener jumped to four hearts ... perhaps their hand had improved because of a fit for responders clubs? If so, partner was short in clubs ... so I duly led the ace of clubs.

Clubs were indeed 3-1! Alas, it was the opening bidder who was short. It turns out it didn't matter what I had led as five hearts always makes. Oh well maybe next time ...

The full hand:

Dealer North. N/S Game.
  spade K Q 7 4 3
heart A K J 8 7 3
diamond 6
club 6
 
spade J 9 6
heart Q 10
diamond K J 5 3 2
club 10 9 4
  spade A 8 5 2
heart 9
diamond Q 10 7 4
club A Q 3 2
  spade 10
heart 6 5 4 2
diamond A 9 8
club K J 8 7 5