Dec. 5 bridge

There is one other independent English-language bridge publication: Australian Bridge.

It appears six times a year in a large-page format. Obviously the articles have an antipodean slant, but there is a bidding match (you may bid the hands first with your partner), an expert bidding panel and various quizzes.

In each issue, Ron Klinger sets two opening-lead problems. In this one, look at the West hand and the auction. What would you lead against four spades?

North was a tad cautious in raising only to three spades, but South compensated. (Those of you who employ the Losing Trick Count will know that both North and South were justified in bidding four spades.)

The deal occurred during this year’s Asia-Pacific Open Teams. For Australia, Sartaj Hans (West) led the diamond five (third-highest from an even number or lowest from an odd number). Peter Gill (East) won with his jack, then carefully returned the diamond two, so that his partner could push a club through dummy’s ace up to his king (necessary if South held the queen). The contract had to go down one.

At the other table, West unwisely led a spade. Andy Hung (South) drew trumps and played a heart from his hand. West won with his ace, but the damage had been done. Declarer’s club losers disappeared on dummy’s hearts.

As Klinger concluded: When choosing an opening lead against a suit contract, if dummy has shown a potential source of tricks in an outside suit, do not lead a trump or dummy’s side suit.

Details are at australianbridge.com.

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