The following is a transcript of an INTERVIEW given by “THE COACH” - MR. L.G. CALLAGHAN with “THE TEACHER” BALON BUCKLEY.
Balon: First of all Ger, let me congratulate you & Judy in your 1st place finish in the IMP Pair League. You destroyed the field and I understand Judy played extremely well.
Gerry: Yes, well thanks Balon, I did destroy the field and, yes Judy sat across from me.
Balon: Kathie & I believe we have made a lot of progress with our teaching program. What do you think about the level of play of the novices that we have released into the bridge scene.
Gerry: The novices are keen and extremely well mannered but they share the same weaknesses as Kathie and yourself in certain aspects of the game.
Balon: What ... aspects could you possibly be referring to? Bidding? Defense? Declarer play?
Balon: I know you take great pride in your opening leads, what tips can you offer to our new players.
Gerry: There is no question that I excel in that department but I am part human and have made the odd bad lead. These occur solely when the opponent’s bidding is atrocious and my expert analysis is then flawed. When I am on opening lead against one of your students I tend to ignore the bidding to minimize the chances of a bad lead.
Balon: So, the opponents bidding is a key to the opening lead. What about partners?
Gerry: Partner’s non-bid is equally as important. For example: L.H.O. opens 1 Club and partner passes. Partner has advertised he does not hold a good 4 or 5 card suit unless it is clubs! Of course we run into the odd partner who holds AKQJ of hearts and this auction and fails to overcall. Such partners should take up needlepoint or tiddlywinks.
Balon: I beat Kathie at tiddlywinks just last night.
Gerry: In a nutshell, Balon, opening leads boil down to YUP suits and FAT cards. Suits to lead (other than trumps when it’s right) are Yours, Unbid and Partners. Cards to lead in that suit are Fourth best, Ace (never underlead please), or Top of sequence. The most important of all of the above is partner’s bid suit. If you fail to lead it, without great cause, you should either be void or sick at the way he misplayed the last hand.
Balon: I like your theory on YUP & FAT. Do you have an opening lead problems you can leave me with.
Gerry: Sure. Try this. You hold:
JXXX, XXX, XXX, QXXX and the bidding proceeds:
1H - P - 2C - P - 2 H - P - 3NT - P - P - P ... Lead.
How about the same hand with the following bidding:
1H - P - 2D - P - 2H - P - 3C - 3S - P - 3NT ... Lead
I’ll donate an autographed picture of myself to any of your students that solve both.
Balon: Very kind of you Ger, you are “simply the bes”t.
Gerry: I KNOW!