Now that bidding has finished, it is the job of the partnership that bid highest to try to make good their promise, or their CONTRACT. However, only one person in the partnership has to do all the work. It will be the person who first mentioned the suit that ended up being the contracted suit. In our situation, it was the dealer (South) who first mentioned Clubs, and even though his partner (North) also bid in Clubs, it is he (South) who has to play out the hand, and he becomes the DECLARER.

For the play can begin, someone has to start which is called LEADING- and it is the responsibility (and privilege) of the person who is to the left of the declarer, to start. I say that it is a privilege, because if s/he picks well in choosing the opening card to play, it might well make all the difference in how the hand is played out. We will have a lesson on meaningful opening leads later. However, for the moment, we will just concentrate on getting the play started.

This is the hand of  West, the person who sits to the left of the declarer and therefore has to lead. The objective in making a good lead is either to tell your partner something of value about your hand, or to play a suit that will be of use to your partner. In this previous hand, neither of the opposition partners bid at all, so you have no idea what suit your partner favours. All you know about the declarer's hand and his partner's hand is that they both have Clubs and they have quite a few points, as they have been brave enough to bid to the 5 level. Sometimes there isn't an obvious best lead, but it is well not to help the opponents out, but to make them work for the tricks they make. So normally, unless you have a string of them, you do not first play out your top cards.

Spades                    9,7,5,4
Hearts                     K,6,4,2
Diamonds                J,9,5
Clubs                      A,7

8. Which of the following would be the best lead?

a. Ace of Clubs
b. King of Hearts
c. 9 of Spades