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Your Lead

Poll: Your Lead (36 member(s) have cast votes)

What suit would you lead against this bidding?

  1. Spades (5 votes [13.89%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 13.89%

  2. Hearts (4 votes [11.11%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 11.11%

  3. Diamonds (3 votes [8.33%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 8.33%

  4. Clubs (24 votes [66.67%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 66.67%

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#1 User is offline   The_Badger 

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Posted 2017-November-20, 09:39

I have posted this in the Expert Forum as all the players at the table were experts. But anyone is welcome to vote and reply. What suit would you lead against this bidding, and if you wish to be more specific, what card would you lead? IMPs Teams. I will post the whole hand after a few days.


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#2 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2017-November-20, 12:56

View PostThe_Badger, on 2017-November-20, 09:39, said:


I have posted this in the Expert Forum as all the players at the table were experts. But anyone is welcome to vote and reply. What suit would you lead against this bidding, and if you wish to be more specific, what card would you lead? IMPs Teams. I will post the whole hand after a few days.

I rank
  • = Passive and might reduce declarer's trump tricks. Partner did not double or s for the lead.
  • = Fairly passive but might wrap up suit or reduce declarer's losing options.
  • = Master-mind/Brilliancy prize attempt. Might work if partner has an honour but partner is unlikely to have enough to justify any speculative aggressive lead.
  • = Ditto.

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#3 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2017-November-20, 17:02

A black suit. Probably a trump.
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#4 User is offline   PhilG007 

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Posted 2017-November-21, 09:12

View PostThe_Badger, on 2017-November-20, 09:39, said:

I have posted this in the Expert Forum as all the players at the table were experts. But anyone is welcome to vote and reply. What suit would you lead against this bidding, and if you wish to be more specific, what card would you lead? IMPs Teams. I will post the whole hand after a few days.



9 If you're going to make any tricks,it will be with the red kings.
It's not a sin to play bridge,but it's a crime if you play it badly(!) ;)
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#5 User is offline   maartenxq 

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Posted 2017-November-21, 10:34

9 If you're going to make any tricks,it will be with the red kings.
[/quote]
Indeed, one of them will make but then it can as well be too late, because dummy's losers will vanish on established 's e.g.

Declarer may also have AKQ on which discards are possible.

think I will lead hearts with many misgivings.

Maarten Baltussen
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#6 User is offline   rmnka447 

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Posted 2017-November-21, 12:29

I'm a Heart leader, also.
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#7 User is offline   RD350LC 

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Posted 2017-November-21, 13:04

View Postnige1, on 2017-November-20, 12:56, said:

I rank
  • = Passive and might reduce declarer's trump tricks. Partner did not double or s for the lead.
  • = Fairly passive but might wrap up suit or reduce declarer's losing options.
  • = Master-mind prize attempt. Might work if partner has an honour but partner is unlikely to have enough to justify any speculative aggressive lead.
  • = Ditto.


I agree with the above comments. I really do not like leading away from a king against a voluntarily bid slam contract, so that rules out hearts and diamonds. Also, a doubleton is a poor lead against a slam contract. A club does not give anything away, especially since you have three of them.
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#8 User is offline   GrahamJson 

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Posted 2017-November-21, 16:02

If dummy is single suited, as the bidding indicates, there seems no reason for an attacking lead as losers are unlikely to be discarded on a long side suit (of course declarer could have such a suit, but that is just a guess). It therefore seems best o lead 2C, asthenosphere most likely safe lead.

No doubt, as this was given as a problem, a red suit lead would be the killer. But I see no good reason to lead one.
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#9 User is offline   Joe_Old 

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Posted 2017-November-21, 17:59

My initial thought was to lead a , but on reflection I'm leading a .

What cards are you keeping after declarer runs 7 or 8 ? It might be vital to break up the squeeze on the opening lead.
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#10 User is offline   The_Badger 

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Posted 2017-November-21, 18:18

Nearly 30 players have voted - thank you - so here's the actual hand. West was none other than Benito Garozzo who lead 8. He is known for aggressive leads against slams but I would have been interested in his thought processes on why this lead is best given the bidding?


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#11 User is offline   miamijd 

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Posted 2017-November-21, 20:03

View PostThe_Badger, on 2017-November-21, 18:18, said:

Nearly 30 players have voted - thank you - so here's the actual hand. West was none other than Benito Garozzo who lead 8. He is known for aggressive leads against slams but I would have been interested in his thought processes on why this lead is best given the bidding?




I didn't respond earlier, but I would have picked a diamond after 10 minutes of study. At the table, however, I have no doubt I'd have led a trump. That's what separates the Garozzos of the world from players like me. It takes me 10 minutes to figure out what those folks can infer in 10 seconds.

Here's the logic:

Opener, not responder, asked for key cards, so he had no clue his partner was dead minimum. If n/s had all the key cards, then South likely would have bid 5S, asking for Kings, just to give his partner a chance to bid a grand if he had the hand for it.

Since he didn't, partner is likely to have an Ace. North has one key card -- where is it? Clubs, right. So South likely has AQ or KQ of clubs and two outside Aces.

Which Ace does partner have? If he has the spade Ace, there should be no hurry to get it. Declarer isn't going to be able to set up a red suit to pitch spades from dummy, because you have the reds guarded fairly well. Indeed, if partner has the spade Ace and declarer has any chance to make, then we're going to have to set up a red trick quickly before our spade Ace is knocked out. That means partner has to have a red Q, too, and the more likely second round trick is in diamonds (we have long H, so dummy is more apt to have a stiff there).

If partner has a red Ace, one or both of our tricks might go away if you don't hit him on lead. Declarer could run spades and pitch cards in that suit from dummy. If the opponents know what they are doing and haven't bid a totally hopeless slam, then if partner has a red Ace, we must take the first two tricks to beat this. And as between the red suits, we are more likely to be able to take two quick tricks in diamonds, as again, dummy is more likely to have a stiff heart than a stiff diamond.

So a small diamond it is.

Cheers,
Mike
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#12 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2017-November-21, 20:13

Following the beginner rule of not asking for keycards when you won't know what to do with the answer, could you also argue that South can't have two quick losers in diamonds? (Or is there no other option here - not sure on the bidding system.)

([edit] nevermind, regardless of system obviously there was no chance of doing anything else to stop in 5 anyway.)
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#13 User is offline   msjennifer 

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Posted 2017-November-21, 21:49

View PostThe_Badger, on 2017-November-21, 18:18, said:

Nearly 30 players have voted - thank you - so here's the actual hand. West was none other than Benito Garozzo who lead 8. He is known for aggressive leads against slams but I would have been interested in his thought processes on why this lead is best given the bidding?


Finally,I did mimic the great Garozzo,my idol bridge master.
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#14 User is offline   sfi 

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Posted 2017-November-21, 22:13

View PostThe_Badger, on 2017-November-21, 18:18, said:

Nearly 30 players have voted - thank you - so here's the actual hand. West was none other than Benito Garozzo who lead 8. He is known for aggressive leads against slams but I would have been interested in his thought processes on why this lead is best given the bidding?


Good news - a diamond was my first thought. Bad news - I thought about it further.

The first thing to consider is whether declarer is likely to make the hand if you give them time. If they are likely to have the tricks then you need to lead aggressively to take yours first. If not, then the aim is to give as little as possible away and let them lose their tricks in time.

Here, most people who respond have decided to go passive, playing the strong hand to not have a source of tricks. That didn't work this time, but it's not unreasonable.

If you do decide to be aggressive, a diamond lead is far superior to a heart. You only need one honour to set up tricks, your jack helps stop them from setting up heart winners via a ruffing finesse, and only having three cards means any winners you set up are more likely to cash.

Another thing to consider is that bidding systems have gotten much better since Garozzo was in his heyday. This means people are less likely to get to silly contracts, which in turn makes passive leads relatively more attractive (which of course means bidding slams that require the correct active lead more profitable, but now we descend into a never-ending game of cat and mouse). For instance, not too many players at any level would think highly of opening 2NT on the South hand or, if that is for some reason a valid 2NT opener, of looking for slam on the North hand. Sometimes bad bidding works...
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#15 User is offline   The_Badger 

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Posted 2017-November-22, 01:22

View Postmiamijd, on 2017-November-21, 20:03, said:

I didn't respond earlier, but I would have picked a diamond after 10 minutes of study. At the table, however, I have no doubt I'd have led a trump. That's what separates the Garozzos of the world from players like me. It takes me 10 minutes to figure out what those folks can infer in 10 seconds.

Here's the logic:

Opener, not responder, asked for key cards, so he had no clue his partner was dead minimum. If n/s had all the key cards, then South likely would have bid 5S, asking for Kings, just to give his partner a chance to bid a grand if he had the hand for it.

Since he didn't, partner is likely to have an Ace. North has one key card -- where is it? Clubs, right. So South likely has AQ or KQ of clubs and two outside Aces.

Which Ace does partner have? If he has the spade Ace, there should be no hurry to get it. Declarer isn't going to be able to set up a red suit to pitch spades from dummy, because you have the reds guarded fairly well. Indeed, if partner has the spade Ace and declarer has any chance to make, then we're going to have to set up a red trick quickly before our spade Ace is knocked out. That means partner has to have a red Q, too, and the more likely second round trick is in diamonds (we have long H, so dummy is more apt to have a stiff there).

If partner has a red Ace, one or both of our tricks might go away if you don't hit him on lead. Declarer could run spades and pitch cards in that suit from dummy. If the opponents know what they are doing and haven't bid a totally hopeless slam, then if partner has a red Ace, we must take the first two tricks to beat this. And as between the red suits, we are more likely to be able to take two quick tricks in diamonds, as again, dummy is more likely to have a stiff heart than a stiff diamond.

So a small diamond it is.

Cheers,
Mike


As always a great reply, Mike - thank you! - and like you I spent 10 minutes, more in my case, figuring out some of the logic behind it. And yes, it took Benito just over 10 seconds of thought to pick this lead.

On the flip side, aggressive leads don't always work as I remember a hand some years back where Benito underled an ace against a small slam and a singleton king in dummy made.

+1 for all those emulated the great Benito
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#16 User is offline   The_Badger 

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Posted 2017-November-22, 01:43

View Postsfi, on 2017-November-21, 22:13, said:

Another thing to consider is that bidding systems have gotten much better since Garozzo was in his heyday. This means people are less likely to get to silly contracts, which in turn makes passive leads relatively more attractive (which of course means bidding slams that require the correct active lead more profitable, but now we descend into a never-ending game of cat and mouse). For instance, not too many players at any level would think highly of opening 2NT on the South hand or, if that is for some reason a valid 2NT opener, of looking for slam on the North hand. Sometimes bad bidding works...


I was unsure whether the 2NT opener (18-19) was part of the system - some players might use that range in association with a multi 2 - or whether it was just an aggressive bid or miscount. The match. as I recall, was evenly balanced at the time so it's unlikely to be a "state of the match" bid. There's also a degree of logic involved given West's 7 HCPs count and North's indication of a long suit that the small slam has been contracted on the less than normal requisite point count allowing East to hold key cards to defeat the slam.
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#17 User is offline   GrahamJson 

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Posted 2017-November-22, 03:30

Who am I to doubt Garozzo, but it does occur to me that if south held Qxx AJ AQxxx KQx his bidding would have been the same and now a diamond lead is the only one to let the contract make. Perhaps he knew more of N/S methods than we do. It certainly seems to me that both north and south overbid their hands. I certainly can’t see how the north hand is worth a slam try opposite a maximum 19 count.
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#18 User is offline   The_Badger 

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Posted 2017-November-22, 04:36

View PostGrahamJson, on 2017-November-22, 03:30, said:

Who am I to doubt Garozzo, but it does occur to me that if south held Qxx AJ AQxxx KQx his bidding would have been the same and now a diamond lead is the only one to let the contract make. Perhaps he knew more of N/S methods than we do. It certainly seems to me that both north and south overbid their hands. I certainly can’t see how the north hand is worth a slam try opposite a maximum 19 count.


I couldn't agree more, Graham. As we all know, there's plenty of combinations (even split combinations) where leading away from KJx is going to cost, especially leading into the strong no-trump hand. This is why I posted this hand because at the time I couldn't see any logic in making this lead. Somewhere between lucky and brilliant in my view. Miamijd's analysis clarifies matters somewhat. If declarer had held the hand above with AQxxx and made the contract, we'd probably put the lead down to a misclick or error of judgement without actually understanding why it was made.
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#19 User is offline   rmnka447 

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Posted 2017-November-22, 15:39

View PostThe_Badger, on 2017-November-21, 18:18, said:

Nearly 30 players have voted - thank you - so here's the actual hand. West was none other than Benito Garozzo who lead 8. He is known for aggressive leads against slams but I would have been interested in his thought processes on why this lead is best given the bidding?



Against small slams, aggressive leads are generally right. The problem with a passive lead with 2 Kings is that you give up a tempo and may be unable to set up both Ks as winners before declarer can set up his suits for 12 tricks.
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#20 User is offline   miamijd 

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Posted 2017-November-22, 20:02

View PostGrahamJson, on 2017-November-22, 03:30, said:

Who am I to doubt Garozzo, but it does occur to me that if south held Qxx AJ AQxxx KQx his bidding would have been the same and now a diamond lead is the only one to let the contract make. Perhaps he knew more of N/S methods than we do. It certainly seems to me that both north and south overbid their hands. I certainly can’t see how the north hand is worth a slam try opposite a maximum 19 count.


You are quite right, Graham. Any lead here is a guess, and you have to play the probabilities. If partner has a red Ace, you have to get busy NOW. If partner has the spade Ace, it's a bit of a coin toss. Declarer might have good spades and be able to discard a red card or two from dummy after knocking the Ace out: that suggests a red suit lead. Or partner might have good spades (as in the case you posited), in which case a passive lead is going to be best.

Of course, there is a slight clue that partner does NOT have good spades: he didn't double 3S. With AT9xx (which is what he would have on your hand), he might have done so. I'm sure it took Garozzo 1 second to realize that.

On the whole, I think a diamond lead is best, but there are certainly hands like the one you provided where it will be costly.

Cheers,
Mike
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