Newcomer & Novice #2: Notrump Leads


For the last few months, we featured two of declarer’s favorite play strategies – the finesse and the promotion play. This month in our first of a two part article, we will explore considerations for the defender to make the best lead when opponents are playing a Notrump contract. There’s more to this game beyond leading your fourth-best card: find out why.

With our focus on leads this month, let’s review the Laws when something goes awry on the opening lead.

Everyone loves to open a hand for bidding. Last month we learned how the “Rule of 15” gives us another hand evaluation criterion when partner is a passed hand. Now let’s explore the “Rule of 20” – a third hand evaluation method, useful even when partner hasn’t bid.

My, partner, you have great shape – referring to your hand distribution, of course! Some hands have cute colloquial names associated with them to describe the shape: Swan, Rattlesnake, Two/Three Suiter, Pancake, (Ugly) Duckling, Freak, and Stiff. Regardless of how you play the cards, use these clichés and you’ll sound like you really know your stuff after you have finished this month’s newsletter.

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