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Not even Tiger Woods hits every shot squarely, and no bridge player always finds the killing opening lead. But your leads can be consistently effective -- especially if you don't mind going against the book. Look at today's auction and West hand and pick a lead against 3NT.

The actual West consulted the book and led the jack of spades, the top of his "interior sequence." Dummy's queen won, and South led the king of diamonds.

When West took the ace, South was safe. He actually won 11 tricks by running the diamonds and clubs, then throwing West in with the ace of spades to lead a heart from the king.

One reason for leading the jack from a holding like West's is to keep communication with partner. But West knew East had a poor hand and would play no part in the defense; hence West should lead the ace of spades.

As it happens, West picks off dummy's singleton honor. He can then force out South's king and get in with the ace of diamonds to run the spades.

You hold: K 7 5 3 A Q J 10 9 4 A Q 6. You open 1NT, and your partner bids three hearts. You raise to four hearts, and he next bids four spades. The opponents pass. What do you say?

A: Partner's four spades is a "cue bid," promising the ace of spades and interest in slam. Your values are minimum, but you have good trumps. Since you're committed to a contract of at least five hearts anyway, show your ace on the way there; cue-bid five clubs.

South dealer.

N-S vulnerable.

10 6 5
K Q J 8 7 3
K 10 4
A J 10 9 8 2
K 9
A 6
J 9 5
6 4
8 7 4 3 2
5 2
8 7 3 2
K 7 5 3
10 9 4
A Q 6
South West North East
3NTAll Pass
Opening lead -- Choose it

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