Social Lesson 19, Part 3, Opening Leads – Count, Inferences, Algorithms

With our lesson #19, Day 1 on Bridge hand evaluation (High Card Points, distribution for length and shortness) beyond us, probably the next most important factor to improve our game is… YOU!  On Day 2 we learned all about…YOU!  Self-awareness, situational awareness, focus, awareness and more.  And while everyone loves to bid, first let’s take a look at opening leads.

On average we defend half of all Bridge hands, so we make the opening lead 25 percent of the time.  That’s a lot – enough that it’s worth our time to make our best lead before the play of the hand is given to the declarer on a silver platter.

In this lesson we introduce the C.I.A.!  No not that CIA – we are referring to the opening leaders ability to consider:
Count,   Inferences,    Algorithms

When the opponents merrily bid back and forth, perhaps stopping in a partscore contract, game, or even up to a glorious slam contract, they are giving their best assessment of their strength and suit length to their partner.  So as a good “counter-intelligence” agent, it is incumbent on us to Look and Listen to each of their bids rather than pout about why we didn’t get cards with chunky honors.  After all, it doesn’t cost anything and we are happy that they are sharing lots of juicy details that will help us defend against their contract.

In this lesson, we will count, Count, COUNT – making an assessment of their likely honors as well as their hand shape, suit by suit.  And capitalizing on our prior lesson 2, it may pay handsome dividends to glance for the opponents gestures, mannerisms, body language, pauses, hesitations, utterances and whatever to possibly give us more “secrets” about their hand assessment and impressions of the auction!

But wait, there’s more!  Once you or partner makes the opening lead, now is a great time to turn your head 45 degrees and admire the dummy.  Do we agree with the dummy’s bidding?  Does it match our assessment prior to the opening lead.  Now how do we feel about the lead?  And the card the declarer chose from the dummy?  Was it a fast decision or slow after considerable consternation?   Okay, enough talk – its time to tune in to this two hour, 4 part lesson with a few dozen slides, punctuated by 15 hand of animated bidding and play.    Okay, let’s do it…

Part 1 – Beginning with lead basics and counting the opponents points – 17:03 minutes of video
Free, Premium, ULTRA, click here to view Part 2 on how to count the inferences – 31:32 minutes of video

Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 3 on lead algorithms and more – 30:38 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 4 playing lots more hands – 29:23 minutes of video

And best yet, here at BridgeHands all of our Bridge hands are full of commentary (regardless of who is the declarer and defender) and analysis on hand evaluation, bidding and animated card play.   As always, our hand discussion offers a refreshingly rare glimpse of Bridge inside the minds of all four players at the table as play progresses, bid by bid, card by card.  Visitors are welcome to view the Part 1 series of our video lesson with nuances that will lead to quick and sound bidding without guesswork.  Those with the Free BridgeHands  membership may also watch Part 2 where we play more hands with provocative play tips and strategies, as well as way to improve skills by critiquing student players. As a Premium and ULTRA member, you are welcome to enjoy the entire four-part lesson segments with lots of hands, plus an opportunity to view future shows during your membership subscription period.   And as always, be sure to check out the hundreds of hours of videos in our archive that is growing by leaps and bounds, by clicking “Index to Videos” on the navigation above or simply click this link.

Happy Trails,


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