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Defensive Lead Question - NT Contract

#1 User is offline   rdylan 

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Posted 2020-July-28, 15:11

Okay, I'm still learning everything to do with bridge, and I need some help with this defensive lead problem that circulated through my bridge group. I've received two different answers with three different explanations. I'm looking for the views of the group.

Contract: 1NT (bidding goes 1NT All PASS)

Hand:

Q64
K2
987632
J3

First Answer (from several intro guides on leading): 6 - fourth from longest (as I understand it, to try to set up diamonds).

Second Answer (from local bridge instructor): 9 - essentially an extension of the Top of Nothing bid (as I understand it, all your other choices suck so go diamonds and play passively hoping to promote the Q and K); the 9 doesn't give the false impression that you are holding an honour in diamonds but also implies a shorter suit.

Third Answer (from a different bridge instructor): 9 - longest without implying an honour (this one I don't understand, as it would seem to imply a shorter suit, probably 3-carded nothing).

Any insights here from the group would be appreciated. Is this simply a matter of convention? It seems to me that SAYC calls for the first answer, but I get the rationale of not wanting to imply an honour. However, if you are leading this for its length, then surely the 6 is a better indicator of length than the 9.
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#2 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2020-July-28, 15:22

rdylan "First Answer (from several intro guides on leading): 6 - fourth from longest (as I understand it, to try to set up diamonds).Second Answer (from local bridge instructor): 9 - essentially an extension of the Top of Nothing bid (as I understand it, all your other choices suck so go diamonds and play passively hoping to promote the Q and K); the 9 doesn't give the false impression that you are holding an honour in diamonds but also implies a shorter suit.Third Answer (from a different bridge instructor): 9 - longest without implying an honour (this one I don't understand, as it would seem to imply a shorter suit, probably 3-carded nothing).Any insights here from the group would be appreciated. Is this simply a matter of convention? It seems to me that SAYC calls for the first answer, but I get the rationale of not wanting to imply an honour. However, if you are leading this for its length, then surely the 6 is a better indicator of length than the 9."
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Agree something with partner. It's unlikely to make any difference.
- Most lead top of nothing: 9.
- Some lead 4th highest: 6,
- Others lead bottom from odd, 3rd from even,: 7.
- I lead 2nd highest from bad suits: 8

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#3 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-July-28, 16:38

My choice of lead is the 6.

The contract is only 1NT which means that opponents do not have an overwhelming HCP strength. Our side will probably get in one or two times as the declarer goes about setting up his requisite tricks so our diamonds could easily get established in time for me to cash them.

As for the choice of cards, I feel that the 4th best conveys the best information (allows partner to infer that I hold a long suit). If the contract were 3NT, it might be more useful to lead top-of-nothing to enable partner to switch if the hand so dictates.
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#4 User is offline   crapdown4 

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Posted 2020-July-28, 18:20

View Postshyams, on 2020-July-28, 16:38, said:

My choice of lead is the 6.

The contract is only 1NT which means that opponents do not have an overwhelming HCP strength. Our side will probably get in one or two times as the declarer goes about setting up his requisite tricks so our diamonds could easily get established in time for me to cash them.

As for the choice of cards, I feel that the 4th best conveys the best information (allows partner to infer that I hold a long suit). If the contract were 3NT, it might be more useful to lead top-of-nothing to enable partner to switch if the hand so dictates.


The OP didn't mention whether it was matchpoints or rubber. Partner is marked with at least 9 hcp. At rubber, I lead low from my Qxx and hope to hit partner with help. The diamonds don't figure to set up in time. At matchpoints, I don't want to underlead ANY honor...so I lead the diamond 9. The diamond 6 might be misinterpreted by partner.

I expect to see declarer struggling somewhat, but usually making his contract (dummy will have a little something, otherwise pard would have acted). I want us to be the pair that holds him to one or two. So I lead the diamond 9, which can't possibly hurt us, rather than trying to find the short suit honor xx killing lead.
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#5 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2020-July-28, 19:52

Bridge World Standard's version is:

Quote

(ii) Spot-card leads: fourth-highest; second-highest (but highest of equals) from a weak suit

In a no-trump contract, it's usually pretty important for a low card to promise an honor, but there isn't a definitive answer, as you can have an agreement either way in this situation.
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#6 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2020-July-29, 02:57

I'm surprised no-one has mentioned the rule of 11 here as yet.

In contract bridge, the Rule of 11 is applied when the opening lead is the fourth best from the defender's suit. By subtracting the rank of the card led from 11, the partner of the opening leader can determine how many cards higher than the card led are held by declarer, dummy and himself; by deduction of those in dummy

I hope your bridge instructor has mentioned it!

Even though the suit hasn't an honour card, it's always a worthwhile mathematical exercise to get into a habit of as a novice/beginner when defending a no-trump contract. Top of nothing, the 9 doesn't always tell partner the other cards you have whereas the 6 does. Partner will probably be able to deduce that you hold a longer suit than 9876 alone, too.
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#7 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2020-July-29, 03:39

View PostFelicityR, on 2020-July-29, 02:57, said:

In contract bridge, the Rule of 11 is applied when the opening lead is the fourth best from the defender's suit. By subtracting the rank of the card led from 11, the partner of the opening leader can determine how many cards higher than the card led are held by declarer, dummy and himself; by deduction of those in dummy.
Ian Morrison (RIP), Scottish International and Gold Cup winner, instructed less skilful partners: to lead 4th highest of their longest and strongest suit, no matter what.
This wasn't always a success -- for instance, when declarer rebid the suit :(
But he judged that, on balance, this was a profitable strategy, because the reliable and consistent information that it provided, helped him to plan the defence :)
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#8 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2020-July-29, 07:20

View Postrdylan, on 2020-July-28, 15:11, said:

Is this simply a matter of convention?

Yes. One normally agrees with partner what one leads from xxxxxx, and convention cards ask you to circle the lead you would make. I did look at leads of international players in this year's Camrose, and all but one led the second highest from this holding. As you, hopefully, play more bridge, you can discuss Smith Peters with your partners. With this holding, you might peter on the first suit played by declarer, which says, "my second highest was from a longish suit partner, please plug away with it if you get in."
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason - barmar
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#9 User is online   mikeh 

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Posted 2020-July-29, 10:40

Welcome to the forums

As for the question, a point that I am surprised nobody has yet mentioned is that it is standard to lead the top card from a solid or near-solid sequence.

Here, the diamond 9 will be either from 9xx or 9xor singleton 9 or from a holding such as 987x(x)(x)...0r 9865...

Note, not from 9765....for the top of sequence ce you need at least the touching lower card and preferably the next one as well.

Now, against 1N, you dont lead from shortness, especially in a minor, so the 9 tells partner you hold a sequence,and lack an honour. He will or should infer length...at least 4 and often more.

Felicity referred to the rule of 11: if you dont know this one, look it up. It is very useful, but rules by themselves can be confusing, especially since we have all kinds of rules that can be potentially in conflict.

Here, the 6 would tell partner that you hold 3 cards higher than the 6, but this information is often going to be of limited, and possibly damaging help to partner. Leading low implies an honour or two in the suit: leading low suggests that partner, unless looking at an obvious switch, continue the suit when he wins the lead. You are better off here leading the 9.

I think that if you polled a group of real experts, some of whom would choose a major for reasons that ar beyond the scope of this post, the vast majority would choose the diamond 9.

Bridge is both fascinating and frustrating. Most people who teach bridge are not actually experts at it, unless you have the money to hire a real professional player and that means a lot of money😀. So while obviously you will do well to pay attention to your teacher(s) and to ask local good players (any really good player would almost surely be very happy to answer questions), Id definitely suggest looking for and buying some books by true experts. You can find a lot of resources online these days.

Also, if you ar really serious about learning the game, buy a subscription to the Bridge World. It will be largely over your head for a while, but you will see how the best players in the world think...especially in the Master Solvers Club.

Bob Ewen wrote an excellent book on Opening Leads....long out of print, I expect, but copies will be floating around the internet. Read that book and youlol probably know more than your teacher. If not, then you have a good teacher.
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#10 User is online   mikeh 

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Posted 2020-July-29, 10:43

View Postlamford, on 2020-July-29, 07:20, said:

Yes. One normally agrees with partner what one leads from xxxxxx, and convention cards ask you to circle the lead you would make. I did look at leads of international players in this year's Camrose, and all but one led the second highest from this holding. As you, hopefully, play more bridge, you can discuss Smith Peters with your partners. With this holding, you might peter on the first suit played by declarer, which says, "my second highest was from a longish suit partner, please plug away with it if you get in."



While it is fairly standard to lead second highest from xxxxx, Im not sure that it is as standard to lead second highest from a solid sequence. Maybe in the UK the cc identifies this holding but in ACBLand, I think it only shows one xxxxx. Its been a while since I filled out a WBF card but I think the same there.

Also, smith or reverse smith is probably a little exotic in this part of the forum😀
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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#11 User is offline   haka9 

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Posted 2020-August-23, 03:06

View Postmikeh, on 2020-July-29, 10:40, said:


Now, against 1N, you dont lead from shortness, especially in a minor, so the 9 tells partner you hold a sequence,and lack an honour. He will or should infer length...at least 4 and often more.



That is a good view. I would lead a diamond according to our 10-12 rule. But against 1 NT-passout you really don't lead from shortness. So I should first talk with partner and lead the 9, top of sequence.
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