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Rules for Leading the First card

The bidding has been completed and the contract set.  Now it is time to play the hand.  The first card is led by the player to the left of the player who set the contract.  The first card often gives a clue to your partner as to the makeup of your hand and it can also set up a strategy to keep the contract from being  made.

  • General Rules
    • Never lead away from a King; i.e. if the top card in your suit is a King, do not lead that suit.

 

    • If you have the Ace and King of a suit, lead the King first followed by the Ace.

 

    • If you have an Ace in a suit, lead that suit and watch for a signal from your partner.   If your partner has the King he should play a middle card (Jack, 10, 9 or 8) as a sign that he has the King.  You then lead back that same suit so he can take the trick with his King.

 

    • Lead the suit that your partner was bidding.  There is a good chance that he holds the high cards in that suit.

 

  • If the contract is Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts or Spade
    • Lead the suit that your partner was bidding.  There is a good chance that he holds the high cards in that suit.

 

    • If you have doubleton lead that suit, the higher card first followed by the lower card the next time the suit is played, showing only two cards in that suit (called High/Low).

 

    • If you have a singleton, play that card (even if a King) so you can trump the next time that suit is played.

 

  • If the contract is No Trump
    • If you have the top 3 cards in a suit, start with that suit and try to run the suit.

 

    • Lead the 4th from the top of your longest and strongest suit to give your partner an indication which suit you as a team might be able to run to prevent the contract from being made.

 

 

James Frazee

Author, Beginning Bridge by the Numbers

www.jamesfrazeebooks.com

 

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