Rule of 20
February 14, 2017
Rule of 11
February 14, 2017

Opening Leads

Opening Leads

The player to the left of the declarer makes the opening lead. Leads are hard because it’s the only time you have to play a card before seeing dummy so there’s always a bit of guesswork involved!

  • Consider the auction. There will always be clues there.
  • Leading partner’s suit won’t always work, but it will keep partner happy!
  • Against notrump, aim to establish your long suit or partner’s long suit.
  • Against a suit contract consider leading a short suit to try and get a ruff.
  • Against a suit contract consider lead trumps to stop declarer from ruffing.

Which suit to lead

The auction will always give you clues about the missing cards and might well influence your choice of lead. If partner has bid, that will often solve your dilemma. If your suit has been bid by an opponent, it could be unwise to lead it

If partner hasn’t bid, it’s normally best to lead your longest suit against a notrump contract.

Against a suit contract, as well as the possibilty of establish tricks in your long suit, you also have the option of leading a short suit to try and score a ruff

Which card?

  • Top of a sequence of three or more
  • 4th highest of longest and strongest suit
  • Low card promising an honor
  • Top of a doubleton
  • High card from three or four small cards


  1. lynng says:

    Rats, would’ve been better off passing and setting E W rather than making the identical NT bid in the S
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    P 1 P 1N
    P P P

  2. hujar says:

    Yes i agree lynng
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    W N E S
    – P P P
    1N P P P

  3. bgoldstone says:

    If your doubleton is headed by an honor, should you lead the honor?

    • graeme says:

      Hi @bgoldstone,
      If you’re going to lead the suit at all it’s best to lead the top one. Doubleton headed by an honour often isn’t such a great lead but it can work out spectacularly well sometimes, too. If you find any example hands let us know and we can take a look together.

  4. terrypause says:

    i queried an ace lead, without the king..but have found that is quite common and a good lead in some cases, when would you lead an ace without the promise of a king @graeme1

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