Source: Mr Bridge
The opening lead always seems to have a bearing on the outcome of a hand, especially in duplicate pairs where every overtrick and undertrick matters. This is why the traveller has a space on it for the lead; it can be quite enlightening to see the lead written down, for it will often explain a great success or disaster. Unfortunately most Norths omit to write in the lead and thus the mystery remains unsolved.
In a no-trump contract, if you pick the right suit, then you gain an important tempo, allowing your side to develop tricks before declarer. In a suit contract, you can develop tricks, search for ruffs and/or take away declarer’s tricks. But perhaps the most commonly held feeling after the first trick is that you have given a trick away.
I am going to write this article in two parts; the first part will discuss which card to lead from a given suit; the second part, in the next issue, will discuss which suit to choose and why.
Which Card Should You Lead from a Given Suit
Let us start with a table:
|K 9 8 4 2||4|
|K 9 8 4||4|
|K 9 4||
|9 8 4||8|
|9 8 4 2||8|
|9 8 4 3 2||8|
I will deal with leads from honour sequences later, but this table shows all the types of holding you can have and which card you would lead if you had chosen to lead the suit. Note: I am not suggesting that you will often lead away from a king, but if you had chosen that suit to lead, then the card you would lead is shown on the right in the table.
4TH HIGHEST FROM AN HONOUR (e.g. K 9 8 4 2)
From a long suit headed by an honour (but with no honour sequence – see later) you should lead the fourth highest card.
It is important to note that this standard lead includes the specification ‘from an honour’; this is of the utmost importance to your partner who will be playing his card in third position assuming that you hold at least one honour.
Too many players call their lead style ‘fourth highest’ and forget about the ‘from an honour’. This is the standard lead in no-trumps and if you choose to lead a long suit against a suit contract.
3 RD HIGHEST FROM THREE TO AN HONOUR (e.g. K 9 4)
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