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Giving Count on Opening Lead

Most of us grew up leading K from AK and giving attitude on opening lead.

Years ago, I read an article by Eddie Kantar on when to give count on opening lead. I rehearsed the five scenarios over and over and recited them to partners and teammates when driving to tournaments. So, I think I have them down.

When partner leads a K against a suit bid, third hand should give count on the opening lead in the following situations:

  • The contract is at the five-level or higher
  • There is a solid side-suit in dummy
  • The declarer has shown a distinctly two-suited hand
  • There is a protected Q in dummy

When defending against notrump third had should give count when

  • an ace is led and you do not have honor, If you have the honor, play it.

These are all situations where it is important for defenders to cash their defensive tricks in the right order. These rules have worked well.

More recently, I've added another.

  • When partner leads the Q from AKQ

Lots of us have switched to leading A for AK and the rules still work. Since David Bird's book on leading against notrump, we make a lot more 'discovery' leads of major-suit honors and therefore have to be more careful about playing an honor under partner's A. Otherwise, Kantar's rules are solid. They have servered me well.

Recently, I've been playing with newer partners that are unfamiliar with Kantar's Rules. I have not been able to find his article. Let me know if you know where to find it.

And even more recently, in one partnership we're playing that the opening leader gives count on opening lead -- A-even, K-odd. With this approach, it's probably not necessary to employ Kantar's rules -- just trust partner to give a correct attitude. But, why make the change? I play Kantar rules in several partnerships and the A-even, K-odd in only one. So, I would prefer to continue using Kantar's rules. Is there a good reason not to do so?Am I missing something?

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