How to Find the Best Opening Lead - Audio Lesson

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Approximate running time: 110 minutes.
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  • The lesson is interactive, so students "learn by doing."
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  • The lesson includes a written transcript for you to study. The transcript format has been improved for increased readability.
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  • The lesson contains several hours of extensive material.
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When you are making the opening lead, you face a dilemma
similar to ones encountered by fictional detectives such as
Sherlock Holmes. You have a chance to assemble and
evaluate clues and make deductions that can allow you to
make an effective opening lead.

Although consistently making a logical opening lead is challenging,
no area of bridge will be as critical in determining your fate on the deal.
There is no question that of all the 52 cards played in a bridge deal,
by far the most important one is the choice of opening lead.

This lesson is GUARANTEED to improve your opening leads.
It will also help you avoid the poorly chosen opening leads
that would make declarer delighted that he was playing against YOU!

In this lesson, Marty will discuss:

Opening leads vs. all contracts

  • What types of opening leads are favored by experts.
  • The real truth about opening leads with matchpoint scoring.
  • The right and wrong times to lead dummy's suit.
  • Which popular opening leads are "a must to avoid."
  • When NOT to lead the top card of a sequence.
  • How assembling clues from the auction can help you make double dummy leads.
  • How to resolve the crucial "attacking or passive" dilemma.

Opening leads vs. notrump contracts

  • When should you prefer a top-of-nothing-lead.
  • Recommended agreements for honor leads.
  • With similar holdings, when should you prefer an unbid minor to an unbid major.
  • What suit you should lead when partner doubles 3NT.
  • When it is correct to lead declarer's suit.

Opening leads vs. suit contracts

  • How to KNOW the right time to lead trump.
  • The right and wrong times to try for a ruff.
  • The right mindset when declarer has preempted.
  • The 7 situations where Marty & Larry believe
    that the opening lead of an ace should deny the king.

Here is an example of what Marty will teach:

































Both sides are vulnerable.
As West you hold:    
A 4 3     A 2     8 6 5 4     J 10 9 2
What do you lead against the opponents' 4


What do you know about dummy's distribution?
His jump to 3
must be based on having 3 hearts and a very strong unbalanced hand.
Why unbalanced? If he had a strong balanced hand,
he would either open 1NT or jump to 2NT at his second turn.
Therefore he must be very short in clubs.
And if he has a singleton club along with his known 4 spades and 3 hearts,
he must have 5 diamonds.

Declarer's 2
preference promises at least 3 diamonds.
With your 4 diamonds and dummy's 5 diamonds,
you can be sure that your partner can't have more than one.

You also have a count on everyone's number of hearts.
Dummy has 3 and you have 2.
If declarer had 6 hearts, he would have made an immediate weak jump shift,
or rebid them after dummy rebid 1
So, your partner has 3 hearts.

Aha! Having done your detective work, you are now ready
to confidently make the opening lead of a diamond.
Since you have the
A entry, you should make the suit-preference lead of the 8.

Here is the full deal:

Both Vulnerable  
Contract: 4

K 9 6 2
K Q 9
A J 10 9 3


West (You)
A 4 3
A 2
8 6 5 4
J 10 9 2


J 10 8 5
6 5 4
K Q 7 6 4


Q 7
J 10 8 7 3
K Q 7
8 5 3


Declarer will win the diamond and lead a trump,
but you'll grab your
A and continue with the 6.
East will ruff and lead a spade to your
You will lead another diamond. East will ruff again.
So declarer is down one.
With any other opening lead, the defense has no chance.

By the way: With your 2 aces + 4 diamonds,
knowing that your partner had to have 3 hearts and 0-1 diamond,
I would have doubled 4
. Not only would that have increased the penalty,
but, although your partner couldn't have a strong hand,
if he had the
K or A, that would have resulted in a juicy +500 for your side.


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