Lewis Grizzard, a writer and humorist, said, “Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.”

The opening lead can make a big difference in the scenery – the result – at the bridge table. This deal occurred near the end of last year’s Polish Teams Championship. As described yesterday, at the first table, South opened three notrump, showing a long, solid minor suit and no side ace, king or void; West overcalled four spades, and North jumped to seven clubs. After East doubled, North ran to seven no-trump. When West woodenly led the spade king, the grand slam made for plus 2,220.

The auction at the second table is given. Note West’s imaginative – crazy? – four-heart overcall on his singleton. North, thinking he could probably defeat this contract, doubled for penalty. When West ran to four spades, North, realizing what West was doing, jumped to six no-trump, the contract he thought his partner could make. After East doubled, what do you think West led?

He knew he was being asked to pick a red suit, but which one? As you can see, if West had chosen a diamond, the contract would have been a quick down three. But he opted for the heart four.

Now you probably think that declarer took all 13 tricks for plus 1,880 and a small loss. But no – declarer thought West had all five missing hearts for his fourheart overcall, so he finessed dummy’s nine! East won with his 10 and cashed the diamond ace for down one. Wow!

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