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"Top of nothing" Leads

#1 User is offline   pbleighton 

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Posted 2004-May-15, 19:43

I recently played with a pickup partner (a pretty good player) at my club, who wanted me to play "top of nothing" against suit contracts. I had heard of this, but hadn't played it before, or since.

What do you think of this approach, for opening leads and/or leads further on into the hand?

Peter
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#2 User is offline   kgr 

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Posted 2004-May-16, 02:47

This is how I play it:
- small does promise honour
- top of nothing
- middle up down with 3 small:
-- the 7 from 973
-- the 9 from 932 (to avoid confusion).
This is probably very easy method for beginner/intermediate. You immediatly know if their is future in a suit.
Probably for expert players 3/5 leads are better because they:
- want to know more about distribution
- can know where honours are from bidding and play
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#3 User is offline   the hog 

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Posted 2004-May-16, 04:38

I prefer "combine" leads, Peter. Top from xxx and bottom from xx. Look up Lukasz Slawinski's site, as posted by Misho for full details.
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#4 User is offline   Flame 

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Posted 2004-May-16, 04:39

Its not that much different then what your probebly playing today, just lead high intead of second high when you dont have honors.
I dont like leading high from long suits like 10 7 5 4 3 leading the 10 looks like a mistake to me, but leading the 10 of 10 7 5 seems fine and can help partner play low when its right.
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#5 User is offline   lucky_dom 

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Posted 2004-May-16, 05:52

Flame, I thought 10 was considered an honour when it comes to leads. So you'd lead low from 10xxxx or 10xx unless you held the 9 also.

Dom
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#6 User is offline   Flame 

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Posted 2004-May-16, 05:57

lucky_dom, on May 16 2004, 06:52 AM, said:

Flame, I thought 10 was considered an honour when it comes to leads. So you'd lead low from 10xxxx or 10xx unless you held the 9 also.

Dom

well even if you are right, i still dont like leading 9 from 96543.
But i dont know if you are right, atleast with my partner Gijsh we dont consider 10 as an honor althought i will lead low from 10xxxx many times (but this isnt our system just common sense)
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#7 User is offline   Free 

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Posted 2004-May-16, 07:35

Lol Flame, where do you think all systems come from? Common sense ofcourse :) ;)

The 10 is generally considered as a small honour. AKQ are top honours, J a normal one, 10 a small one. If you analyse a lot of hands, you'll see that the 10 is still a very important card, although it's pretty low. Even the 9 or the 8 can be of importance, and not to be the 13th card if you know what I mean. B)
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#8 User is offline   dogsbreath 

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Posted 2004-May-16, 08:19

leading 9 or 10 from 9xxxx or 10xxx or ..(etc) may cause unexpected loss of a trick (especially where the suit is distributed 5-4-3-1) .. i think 2nd highest best from that holding.

I dont like top-of-nothing or mud from a suit bid by partener .. nothing is perfect but i prefer small from xxx or xxxx ..since it gives p some help with the count.. especially dont want partener to direct the defence towards giving me a phantom ruff in this situation.
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#9 User is offline   keylime 

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  Posted 2004-May-17, 19:22

If you play top of nothing, then you can play low-high to show a doubleton if playing a form of UDCA. Even then, I really don't like it - I tend to use MUD from three small, second best from Hxx, and if I got the Jxx, I tend to lead the jack as denying anything else by implication!!
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#10 User is offline   Trpltrbl 

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Posted 2004-May-21, 13:55

So many ways you can make opening leads. I have found out that top of nothing cost more then it gains.
Agressive leads is what wins the game.
Weaker players lead away from nothing almost always, afraid to"give" something away.
Better players lead agressive, away from honour. Not always, but most of the time.
Listen to the auction, try to construct opps hands from that. And then make a wise, hopefully, decision.

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#11 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2004-May-23, 01:20

Above all, lead your highest card of a suit if you think it's necesary to keep the trick for a second finese through the dummy, or if you think it's necesary to deblock. Don't do it if you think it may cost a trick. But in most cases, it is impractical to lead from a weak suit at all. And if all your suits are weak, partner will have infered that from the auction already, so you can better lead a low card to mislead the declarer.
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#12 User is offline   mishovnbg 

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Posted 2004-May-23, 04:30

Hi Peter!
It is no chance that most of top players use 2nd from small instead of top of nothing. 2nd reveal less to opps and helps enough to p and didn't sacrifice high card that can be important for defense. Combined with UDCA marking it helps to show number of cards by regular way in leaded suit for sure, very important for trump contracts, unlike mud, where can be too late for you to reveal that p had 3 cards, not doubleton.
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#13 User is offline   aisha759 

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Posted 2004-May-23, 06:38

So Mike, as your opponent, can I count on you to lead small from A to my singleton King? ( in a suit contract of course :) )

Jokes put aside, so true, about not leading agressively by weaker players...moi!!!

Learning though...

Aisha
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#14 User is offline   Cave_Draco 

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Posted 2004-May-25, 19:28

I hate "Top of nothing" leads!

Ooooh! P has a doubleton, :(.


MUD is almost as bad!

The advantage of 3rds/5ths is that Hi-Lo ALWAYS promises an even number & Lo-Hi is ALWAYS odd.

If P has bid the suit? Lead low if you have an entry, lead high if you don't.

If P has not bid the suit? Why lead it? If you must lead it, give P a count!
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#15 User is offline   1eyedjack 

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Posted 2004-May-25, 23:42

Cave_Draco, on May 25 2004, 08:28 PM, said:

I hate "Top of nothing" leads!

Ooooh! P has a doubleton, :(.


MUD is almost as bad!

The advantage of 3rds/5ths is that Hi-Lo ALWAYS promises an even number & Lo-Hi is ALWAYS odd.

If P has bid the suit? Lead low if you have an entry, lead high if you don't.

If P has not bid the suit? Why lead it? If you must lead it, give P a count!

Generally agree, that combining top of doubleton with either top of nothing or MUD leads to ambiguity. However if you lead bottom of doubleton in conjunction with 4th highest leads, and top of Xxx you remove that particular objection. ie Hi-Lo ALWAYS promises an odd number and Lo-Hi is ALWAYS even.

This prevents you from having to lead the 8 from AT83 where the 8 may be an active card - the classic objection to 3rd & 5th.

It has a downside. Low from xX can cost a trick if the higher x is a significant card. I don't think it costs as many tricks as hxXx.
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#16 User is offline   Yzerman 

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Posted 2004-May-28, 16:23

This is one of my pet peeves, top of nothing. I think there are 2 distinct camps in this argument;

1 - Where are the honor cards (hence top of nothing to show attitude in a suit)

2 - What is the distribution of suits for the deal

My personal approach in this argument is that honor cards can be worked out from the auction (general knowledge of strain and level), the dummy (honor and relative spot cards) , and declarer inferences (avoidance of suits, attacking suits). A good mind should be able to work out honor points to a certain accuracy a large proportion of the time.

Hand distribution and exact knowledge of declarers pattern is much more elusive and often much more important than honor cards. If you agree with previous statement, the there is room for the argument that it is essential the defense share enough information about distribution (count card leads, accurate count carding) starting IMMEDIATELY at trick 1.

Additional arguments to this is that the hand playing BEHIND the dummy, will generally play the SAME card regardless of partners lead. The play of the person behind dummy is strictly a positional play (meaning that the intent is for the defense to guard defensive positions and tenaces). Having said that, IF the defense is likely to play the same card regardless of the honor point layout, what purpose does leading an attitude "top of nothing" or "MUD" lead serve? If the suit has been pickled on opening lead there is nothing the defense can do to recover anyway.

Over time I have carefully considered the options of different count card lead options (3/5 vs 2/4 vs 4). My personal opinion is that 2/4 has a slight advantage for it allows a partnership a little more flexibility and can combine both count inference and honor point inference (leading from abcd, lead b from bad holdings and d from good holdings - then present count in suit from lead of b will be bcda and present count from d will be dcba). 3/5 leads do not allow as much flexibility in combining attitude and count, although some partnerships have agreements when to lead 3rd from 5+ card suits.

Anyways, that is nerdy input on the subject!

Regards,
MAL
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