Opening lead: nine of spades
Some plays might run contrary to standard procedure, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are wrong. For example, consider this deal where South gets to five diamonds doubled on the bidding shown.
It seems natural to win the spade lead in dummy and return a trump. That’s what you would normally do with this trump holding, but it’s not what declarer should do in the present case.
West’s double indicates that he might have all four missing trumps, and if that’s true, a trump play from dummy at trick two is sure to result in losing three trump tricks. Instead, South should cross to the ace of hearts at trick two and lead a low trump toward dummy 10-4.
This unusual play cuts West down to size. If he follows low, dummy’s 10 wins, and South loses only two trump tricks. And if West goes up with the jack of trumps instead, dummy plays low. Whatever West returns, declarer next concedes the 10 of diamonds to the king and again limits his losses to two trump tricks.
The hand demonstrates once again why, in bridge, it is not possible to set forth hard-and-fast rules that cover all situations. The standard rule followed by declarer is to lead from weakness toward strength — for example, from x-x toward A-Q — and not to lead from strength towards weakness.
But here, because of the special circumstances, it is clearly better to lead from strength towards weakness in order to assure the contract.
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