The 3rd in the award-winning series of "Larry Teaches." This 64-page spiral workbook covers all aspects of this daunting part of the game. Numerous quizzes guide the reader towards improving their skills in this very important area of the game. Winner ABTA 2015 Book of the Year
Nov, 2014 ACBL Bulletin
Reviewed by Paul Linxwiler
The Leading Edge
The latest in a series of student manuals by experts player, teacher and author Larry Cohen focuses on opening leads. While this material is available in hundreds of other bridge books, Cohen has a knack for keeping it simple and getting to the point. Directed at advanced beginners or intermediate players, Cohen succinctly explains the rationale for which card or suit to lead in each of his examples. There is even a chapter on advanced topics for more experienced players, as well as a section on specialized lead conventions, such as Rusinow and third-an fifth-best leads.
Cohen's material is reliably good and often humorous, too. The example titled "The Worst Lead in the History of Bridge" alone is worth the price of the book.
I fancy myself as a solid intermediate bridge player. I think that this is a very good introduction to opening leads. It gives you two things 1) picking which card to lead from a suit (automatic once you know what the rules are) and 2) how to pick the best suit.
#1 is automatic. If you have KQJ, lead the K. If you have Q843, lead the 3. There's no judgement, just a small amount of memorization.
#2 is where I got value out of this book. Mr Cohen give lots of examples on what clues you can use to choose the correct suit including listening to the opponent's bidding, partner's bidding, the final contract, and your own holding to choose the best suit. He compliments this with example holdings and auctions and gives rationale for the suggestions made in the text. One particularly important point is using negative inferences to choose the correct suit (e.g., your partner didn't double an artificial bid, so that may not be the best suit to lead if it's a close call).
This isn't for experts, but I think it's a good instruction manual for 95% of beginners and intermediates.
Very well written. Good for beginning to intermediate players. Probably not too helpful for an advanced player, but still a good refresher.