The origin of this concept is unknown and will most probably never will be. This concept was devised for social and casual players, whose main indulgence was rubber bridge, whereby the scoring was different and which also influenced the bidding tactics. Although this is the basic concept, this parameter must not be treated as if it were solely a part of rubber bridge. The concept can also be employed effectively in competitive duplicate bridge.

Principle of the Concept

When the opponents have bid a suit contract, then a desperation lead may be the only saving play. This action is defined as a lead or play made completely in opposition to the normal and standard safety leads as dictated by other circumstances. This action has possibly the most promising result if and when the defensive prospects seem unproductive and fruitless.

The Official Encyclopedias of Bridge as published by the American Contract Bridge League presents the following example of a desperation lead since the early 1970s and most likely assumed, in addition, from older bridge-related publications.

An example should clarify the foundation of this concept:

North   East   South   West    
Pass   1           Promises opening values.
        Pass   3   Promises a limit raise. Not game forcing.
Pass   4   (All pass)       East bids a game contract.

Note: an analysis by South reveals that West and East hold about 25-26 points. South holds 3 points with the King of Hearts. This leaves a possible count for North of about 9-11 points. It is this fact, which is most important for South to lead a desperation in the hope of a ruffing possibility.

As the student of the game of bridge can readily recognize South must lead. However, the question is which card from which suit should South lead. An analysis and the reasoning of the problem can be viewed as follows.

1. In the case that South decides to lead a trump, then the probability is high that East, the declarer, can capture the possible King of West, thereby making the contract.
2. Leading fourth down from either Diamonds or Clubs does not seem promising, wise, nor a viable option.
3. Therefore, through logical reasoning the lead of one of the three suits of Spades (trump suit), DIamonds, and Clubs seem illogical and determine that Hearts should be the suit, from which to lead.

In the gambling game of rubber bridge it becomes necessary to attempt all possible and feasible options left to the player, who leads the first card. The only possible and logical hope of South to defeat the game contract is to lead the King of Hearts.

By leading the King of Hearts South is hoping that partner, North, may hold the Ace of Hearts, and indicates a continuation of Hearts by playing an encouraging card. Therefore, if the King of Hearts holds, then South leads the 5 of Hearts on the second trick. This trick is won by North, who then immediately returns a Heart for South to ruff.

It is also possible for North to hold the Queen of Hearts and the Ace of Spades (trump). South leads, in desperation, the King of Hearts, and the trick is won either in dummy or by declarer. However, once the declarer attacks trump, then North can, holding the Ace of trump, win the trick, then play the Queen of Hearts, and then provide South with a possible ruff.



If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.