Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, February 21st, 2023


Iain ClimieMarch 7th, 2023 at 5:23 pm

Hi Bobby,

Interesting use of the S2 as a suit preference lead today which reminded me of attitude (aka Busso) leads which I used to play especially against NT in the late 1970s. The lower the card, the better the suit was the general principle. Any thoughts on this as a method, as it seems to have gone out of fashion?



Bobby WolffMarch 8th, 2023 at 3:49 am

Hi Iain,

Since I am an old fuddy-duddy I had never heard of your innovative attempt to
improve opening leads.

Therefore, give me time to get back to you, with my opinion,

Iain ClimieMarch 8th, 2023 at 11:01 am

Thanks Bobby but interestingly I found very little online. As a few examples, suppoe you’re on lead vs 1N 3N. With a suit like AQ1052 or KJ963 you’d lead the lowest while with (say) 98xx you’d lead the 9. With somewhere in between e.g. J9752 you might lead the 5 although this might depend on the entry situation too; with little outside, you might prefer the 7 while you’d also probably lead the 7 from (say) J742 if you felt obliged to lead that suit.

Seemed to work quite well vs NT anyway but the idea seems to have died the death (along with Byzantine Blackwood which we discussed once before a while back – a brilliant convention but needed much memory) and I’m not sure why.



Bobby WolffMarch 8th, 2023 at 3:16 pm

Hi Iain,

Regarding opening leads, there are perhaps only two significant truths available to share with your partner and, of course, the ugly declarer. When both count and then strength are basically up for inspection a key factor, where some may change “a” to “the” no doubt, the different accent on information needs to be determined with the following caveat.

Which choice when shared, helps the defense more than the other. And before we leap to answer, we need to agree which of the three different games, “matchpoints” vs. “IMPs” and lumped with “rubber” differ.

Methinks (absolutely no sure thing), that matchpoints (BTW including B-A-M) would benefit the defense more with 3rd or 4th best in order to give partner a MUCH easier choice of then, most times, because of the quitted bidding, helping determine declarer’s over qll distribution, allowing him to sooner cooperate with the opening leader for the better defense (if there happens to be), reducing the 3rd seat defender to now only needing to tally up his specific high cards (indeed, if practically feasible).

However, the above is always true, allowing the possibility of giving away unnecessary overtricks, (low means strong), less with specific leads, therein reducing the final solution to determining just how advantageous lowest leads become, NEVER forgetting, that the wily declarer also becomes imminently privy to the same information.

Although we have possibly now arrived at the syllogism of choice, to which I wholeheartedly choose you to issue the final conclusion. Yes, you will (may) be thought of as not less than a genius, when all good things happen on defense, as long as you can endure being thought a fool, if not.

Aren’t you glad you brought this up?

Iain ClimieMarch 8th, 2023 at 3:44 pm

Hi Bobby,

Many thanks for that and you can see why I think they’re better vs NT.