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Theory question: leading from xxx

#1 User is offline   maximusg 

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Posted 2017-April-20, 15:32

First off...my apologies. I'm no expert. Also, I hope this question even makes sense.

So I've heard that some people lead from the "bottom of nothing" and some lead "top of nothing" when leading from xxx.

My thought is that leading from the bottom might encourage partner to believe I have an honor. But, leading from the top might lead my partner into believing I'm leading from a doubleton.

Why not lead the middle card from xxx, with the idea of playing the higher remaining card when the suit is led again? That way, partner knows I have an odd number of cards in the suit and also that I have no honor.

Example:

I decide to lead the 6 from 763

Partner gets the idea that I'm leading from a doubleton, but also knows I probably don't have an honor in this suit.
Next time I play the 7. Now partner knows the count as well.

If I start with the 3, partner is pretty sure I'm leading from an odd number of cards but doesn't know if I have an honor. They still won't know if I have an honor whether I play the 7 or the 6 next.

If I start with the 7, partner can tell I don't have an honor but won't know the count and still won't know the count after I play either the 3 or the 6.

Sorry if this post isn't very intelligible.
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#2 User is offline   sfi 

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Posted 2017-April-20, 15:46

Leading the middle one is certainly an option, and many people play MUD (middle-up-down) for exactly the reasons you suggest.

The problem with this is partner knows exactly what is going on, but often one trick too late. There is no perfect solution, so you pick what is important to you and run with that.

For what it's worth, my (mild) preference is for low vs suits and top vs NT, since different things are likely to be valuable to partner. IMO, leading middle is much better against suits than against NT, since you are generally not looking for a suit in which to develop length tricks.
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#3 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2017-April-20, 22:17

If you do have 67Q (say), it is trivial for a good declarer to hide his 3 by not playing it. Our solution vs. suit is to lead low from honor OR doubleton on Opening lead; so you can just play the low card next with 763 and deny a Doubleton. This is Pre-alerted as required in the ACBL, doesn't apply when leading a suit Partner has shown in the auction, and is only on opening lead.

In a suit partner has shown we just lead low with any 3 if when haven't supported the suit -- and high from nothing if we have supported it.
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#4 User is offline   MrAce 

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Posted 2017-April-20, 22:36

 maximusg, on 2017-April-20, 15:32, said:

First off...my apologies. I'm no expert. Also, I hope this question even makes sense.

So I've heard that some people lead from the "bottom of nothing" and some lead "top of nothing" when leading from xxx.

My thought is that leading from the bottom might encourage partner to believe I have an honor. But, leading from the top might lead my partner into believing I'm leading from a doubleton.

Why not lead the middle card from xxx, with the idea of playing the higher remaining card when the suit is led again? That way, partner knows I have an odd number of cards in the suit and also that I have no honor.

Example:

I decide to lead the 6 from 763

Partner gets the idea that I'm leading from a doubleton, but also knows I probably don't have an honor in this suit.
Next time I play the 7. Now partner knows the count as well.

If I start with the 3, partner is pretty sure I'm leading from an odd number of cards but doesn't know if I have an honor. They still won't know if I have an honor whether I play the 7 or the 6 next.

If I start with the 7, partner can tell I don't have an honor but won't know the count and still won't know the count after I play either the 3 or the 6.

Sorry if this post isn't very intelligible.


Hi, first of all I have to tell that my comments below are for trump contracts and I am assuming pd did not show the suit we are about to lead.

  • When you lead the top from xxx, pd usually knows you do not have an honor card but as you mentioned it is usually confused with doubleton. But pd knows at least one thing.
  • When you lead smallest from xxx, neither pd nor declarer has any clue about honor card but knows your count which includes singleton ( a deal breaker in trump contracts).
  • When you lead the middle, pd knows nothing about honor and nothing about your count.

Yes, there are good players who sometimes leads MUD (middle from xxx) but their reason has NOTHING to do with the honor. It is mostly due to hiding information from opponents. Leading middle allows us to change our strategy on the 2nd round of this suit and false carding. I have debated this with so many good players. This is exactly their priority reason for leading the middle. But then again there are also many auctions that they lead smallest from xxx depending on who they believe will benefit more from the information they are about to give. Pd or declarer?

Not sure whether he was Spyder or SFI that I debated this topic before, I prefer smallest from xxx but there are auctions and positions and my spot cards in that xxx suit which may persuade me to lead the middle now and then.

Due to curiosity I checked the cc of different countries and their leading players. As you will see below overwhelming majority prefers smallest from xxx in suit contracts. (1/12 leads mud)

http://www.clairebri...rothrodwell.pdf (Meckwell)

http://info.ecatsbri...n-weinstein.pdf (Weinstein-Levin)

http://www.zarpoints...ria-versace.pdf (Versace-Lauria)

http://www.infobridg...cchi-madala.pdf (Madala-Bocchi)

http://bridgefiles.n...lgemo-Notes.pdf (Helgemo-Helness)

http://www.clairebri...1/grue-lall.pdf (Lall-Grue)

http://www.geocities...telman-moss.pdf (Gittelman-Moss)

http://www.geocities...eco-hampson.pdf (Greco-Hampson)

http://www.geocities...s/hans-nunn.pdf (Australians)

http://www.clairebri...old-Bakhshi.pdf (Gold-Bakshi)

http://www.clairebri...n_forrester.pdf (Forrester-Robson)

http://www.geocities...-zmudzinski.pdf (Zmudzinski-Balicki)
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#5 User is offline   1eyedjack 

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Posted 2017-April-20, 23:41

 maximusg, on 2017-April-20, 15:32, said:

My thought is that leading from the bottom might encourage partner to believe I have an honor.

Perhaps - if playing undiscussed methods with a pickup partner.
With a regular partner you should have agreed what you lead from xxx.
If you have agreed to lead low from xxx then partner would be at fault if he (now) unreasonably assumes that it is from an honour.
Psych (pron. saik): A gross and deliberate misstatement of honour strength and/or suit length. Expressly permitted under Law 73E but forbidden contrary to that law by Acol club tourneys.

Psyche (pron. sahy-kee): The human soul, spirit or mind (derived, personification thereof, beloved of Eros, Greek myth).
Masterminding (pron. mPosted ImagesPosted ImagetPosted Imager-mPosted ImagendPosted Imageing) tr. v. - Any bid made by bridge player with which partner disagrees.

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#6 User is offline   sfi 

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Posted 2017-April-20, 23:48

 MrAce, on 2017-April-20, 22:36, said:

Not sure whether he was Spyder or SFI that I debated this topic before, I prefer smallest from xxx but there are auctions and positions and my spot cards in that xxx suit which may persuade me to lead the middle now and then.

Due to curiosity I checked the cc of different countries and their leading players. As you will see below overwhelming majority prefers smallest from xxx in suit contracts. (1/12 leads mud)


Unlikely to have been me - I tend to play whatever partner wants here. Many partners over the years seem to have had strong feelings about this for some reason.

One thing that would be interesting (although not enough for me to actually click through to the 12 convention cards :)) is how many of them play 3rd/low vs suits. If you do that, you are pretty much forced to lead low from three small, and I suspect a lot of them consider 3rd/low to be a big advantage.
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#7 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2017-April-21, 14:10

MaximusG - This is a great question and you are thinking about the problem when you are internally struggling with 'count' vs 'attitude'.

Timo gives a good summary. I'd say expert standard is top of nothing against NT and bottom from any three small.

One thing to consider about 'reading' a lead is that a lead from honor-x-x against a suit tends to be kind of unusual so I wouldn't expect partner to have this holding unless the auction screamed for it, or if partner had a difficult hand to lead from. Letting partner count the hand out is very important.

Against NT, we want to convey whether or not we have strength in the suit, so a high card denying strength is useful.

An extension of this thinking is leading 2nd with x-x-x-x.
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#8 User is offline   PrecisionL 

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Posted 2017-April-22, 07:06

I play (with several partners) Sometimes MUD and attitude leads against NT (2nd or 4th).
Against suits, we lead middle (if the middle card is not low and does not look like a lead from Hxx).

763: lead the 6, 732: lead the 7.

My Gatlinburg partner prefers the we play low after leading MUD (MDU). The ultimate question to decide between all these options is do you consider count or attitude more important for your lead information for partner.
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