Opening lead is the least liked part of bridge. This is the consequence of a sad fact that most players lead poorly. And much as we are able to tolerate or even get to like shortcomings of our character, accepting intellectual weaknesses goes against human nature. Hence aversion to defensive play, observable at every stage of bridge development. To be sure, good players lead better than weak players, but the level of opening leading always lags behind declarer play or bidding skills. It is therefore common for many players to treat hands in which they defend with some sort of impatience. In the next deal we will bid to a distributional slam or a light game, or we will pre-empt opponents out of their optimum contract in a word, we will perform a number of brilliant moves bringing us a lot of points or money and providing us with an opportunity to show the real strength of our play. For the time being, however, we have to defend. The contract seems cold, declarer looks as if two overtricks were just a matter of time, and so we lead through dummys strength, or lead trumps, or the highest from a sequence, because this is what routine tells us to do. If, by some unfortunate decree of fate, in a match or a rubber game we constantly get worse cards than the opponents or we defend more often than we declare in a tournament, we routinely let the tricks go time and again on the opening lead, complaining about the bad luck and restlessly waiting for a better hand. How much more proper and, most of all, more efficient attitude would be to prove by means of successful defensive play that it is not only the cards we are dealt but also, to a considerable degree, the abilities we possess, what influences the result.
Paperback: 165 pages: 2011