When you are leading against a No Trump contract, selecting the right opening lead offers you a chance to set the opponents’ contract.

When partner opens or overcalls, it’s usually best to lead his bid suit. If you have a singleton or doubleton in partner’s suit, of course, lead it. You lead the top card of the doubleton to let partner know you have only two cards in that suit. If you have two or more touching honors in partner’s suit, lead the top of the touching honors (queen from QJ4, for example). If you do not have a singleton or doubleton, use BOSTON (“bottom of something, top of nothing”).

A favorite lead of most players is the top of a three-card sequence: A from AKQx, K from KQJx, Q from QJTx. These are perfect sequences.

Next to a perfect sequence comes a broken sequence: K from KQTx, Q from QJ9x. Then we have the internal sequence lead: J from AJTx or Queen from AQJx or T from KJT9x, for example.

One of the first rules that most players learn is to lead fourth from your longest and strongest suit; that is, if you have K9875 in a suit, lead the 7. Often this lead will allow you to set up low cards in your suit.

No trump is a race! The defenders are trying to make tricks for their side while the declarer tries to develop the tricks to make the contract. The defenders have an edge because they get to lead first. Make sure you choose your opening lead wisely. It doesn’t matter if you win tricks early or later in the hand, only that you win as many tricks as possible. In No Trump, you frequently win tricks later in the deal with little cards in long suits, but you must do your work early to have this happen.

Suppose partner bid hearts and you are on lead against a 3NT contract.

Which card would you lead?

1. 92

2. JT3

3. K76

Partner does not bid; what would you lead against a 3NT contract?

4. KJT43

5. KQT54

6. KQ654


Answers: 1. 9 2. J 3. 4. J 5. K 6. 5

Kathie Walsh, accredited by ABTA, teaches all levels of bridge at Hilton Head Island Bridge Club. kbwalsh@roadrunner.com