An opening lead falsecard may be warranted if an aggressive or desperate lead is needed. For instance:

  • The opponents have bid strongly, e.g. stopping in game after investigating slam.
  • Your hand indicates that key suits or cards lie favorably for declarer.
  • You are trailing in a session, and need a swing.

Even if one of these conditions are present, expert player and writer Mike Lawrence recommends falsecarding only if:

  • You hold the critical cards held by the defenders so that partner will not be involved in the defense (and not have an opportunity to be misled into making a bad decision).
  • You must be able to predict how the play of the hand will go and what effect your falsecard will have. 1

The following example is from Zia Mahmood's autobiography "Bridge My Way" 2:

North
A5
AKJ854
Mahmood982Granovetter
974373862
62Q93
54SouthAQT63
QT842SKQJTK6
HT7
DKJ7
CAJ95


Mahmood

Pass
Pass
All Pass
North

1H
3H (2)

Granovetter

Pass
Pass

South
1C
1NT (1)
3NT

  1. 15-17
  2. Forcing


Against a strongly bid 3NT, Zia led the D4. Matt Granovetter won the ace and returned the D3, which ostensibly showed a four-card suit. Accordingly, declarer assumed 4 losers at most: 3 diamonds and 1 heart. He rose with the DK and took the heart finesse. Granovetter, of course, won this and rattled off his diamond winners to beat the contract.

An opening lead can not only disguise suit length, but specific honors as well. The following deal was from a club game in California:

North
A8
AQJ
WestAQT875East
9744232
7642K983
KJSouth643
AJT8SKQJT65Q765
HT5
D92
CK93


West

Pass
Pass
North
1D
3D
4S
East
Pass
Pass
All pass
South
1S
3S


After hearing North's bidding, West assumed that her diamond honors were poorly placed. She therefore tried the opening lead of the DJ to misrepresent her actual holding.

Her ruse worked. Declarer feared a singleton and hopped up with the DA. A low club to the CK then lost to West's CA. At trick 3, West found a heart switch that forced South to finesse. When this lost, the defense collected another club and a diamond to set the cold contract. (And, incidentally, trigger a director call!)


References

1 Lawrence, Mike. (1986). Falsecards.

2 Mahmood, Zia. (1995). Bridge My Way.

See also

  • Falsecards
    The definition of falsecards, from an ethical perspective.

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