Playing Intermediates #003 – The first two deals on playing intermediates focus on the texture and value intermediate cards of 10s, 9s 8s and sometimes 7s contribute when playing a hand of bridge. But, what is the meaning of leading intermediates? What does opening lead of the ♣ 7 mean in this deal?
Playing with Emma Knight of Hilton Head Junior Bridge HHJB this deal (rotated) was defended August 6, 2014 / Hilton Head Island BC.
After North opens 1 ♠ and South responds 1 NT as a forcing notrump, North/South must proceed carefully – anything that can go badly in bridge, often does. DD (double dummy) North/South should reach 3 NT or 4 ♠.
After opening 1 ♠, a jump rebid of 3 ♠ by North is invitational (not forcing), South can Pass 3 ♠. With a 3-loser hand, North should consider a jump-shift to 3 ♣ which makes the auction forcing and gives South a chance to bid the hearts. After 3 ♥ (6+ hearts, no fit in spades), North can decide on 3 NT or 4 ♠ (I like 4 ♠).
So what is the meaning of the lead of a 7 - The Miss Lucy.
The lead of a 10 is usually natural from some honor holding, but could be from a 3-card holding such as 109x. The lead of an 8 or 7 is usually a discouraging lead, suggesting partner find a better opportunity. I would go out of my way not to lead a 9, unless it is in a suit partner has bid, too often 9s win tricks.
Leading from a doubleton is not typically a good lead, unless, one has 1st or 2nd round control of trump. So playing with Emma, the lead of the ♣ 7 is a discouraging lead (attitude towards clubs). Emma makes a world class play, not just for a 10 year old but for anyone, ducking the ♣ 7 to declarer. Declarer leads the ♥ J which I win with the ♥ K (lower of touching honors) and lead the ♣ 2 (echo card), Emma wins her ♣ A and leads a 3rd club which I get to ruff with my ♥ 4. I duck the next heart to Emma's ♥ Q for down two (-2).
Emma plays with me in open games ... when people ask her how long she has been playing bridge and she answers "about three years" ... I love it! I am so proud of Emma (and all of our junior bridge players) - not many players with 2 masterpoints, regardless of age, could make this play.
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