Peg Bracken, who was an author of humorous books, asked, "Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?"

That's a good question on the tax filing day in the United States! The initial opening lead on this deal would not tax anyone in one respect, but would tax almost everyone in another.

First, what should West lead against four spades? How should the defense proceed after that?

South jumped to game partly on the basis of the double fit in the pointed suits. He hoped to buy the contract because he knew his opponents also had a double fit. Note that it takes an unlikely low-club lead and low-diamond return to defeat five hearts by two tricks.

Last week, we looked at leading ace from ace-king-third or longer at trick one and king from ace-king after trick one. Here is another example of when you should lead king from ace-king-third or longer: at trick one in a suit both the leader and his partner bid. It does not matter if the leader bid first and partner raised, or vice versa. This is a position when you might well lead an unsupported ace.

Here, West leads the heart king. East, holding the queen, encourages with the eight. Then West shifts to his singleton diamond.

Declarer wins in his hand and leads a sneaky spade jack. However, West will not be deflected. He wins with his ace, plays a low heart to his partner's queen and gains the lethal diamond ruff. Brilliant!

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