Inferences: Clues for Declarer from the Opening Lead

Declarer is able to make deductions about the shape of the opening leader’s hand from the first card. Leading the two (deuce), if that’s the fourth highest of the longest and strongest suit, will suggest that the opening leader’s hand is generally balanced, and one of three possible shapes; 4-3-3-3, or 4-4-3-2, or 4-4-4-1. In other words, they do not have a five-card suit at all. Declarer will try to keep this fact in mind as they make plays in their own suits to be developed.


  • In no trumps, the lead of a two (deuce) will show a lot about the shape of the defender’s hand

  • One can assume that if they held a five-card suit they would have preferred to lead that suit

  • So, they probably won’t have a suit of five or six cards

  • Their shape is likely to be balanced if their longest suit is four cards

  • When declarer is playing their own suit, expect this suit to divide evenly because the defenders haven’t shown extreme length in any suits

Lesson Hands

Now it’s your turn to put this lesson into practice. Play each of the bridge hands and then watch the review videos for additional tips and an example on how to approach the hand.

Lesson Quiz

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What’s next?

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