It’s OK To Lead Away From A King

Most beginners will have been taught that you shouldn’t lead away from an ace if you are making the opening lead against a suit contract.  This makes many think that leading away from a king might also not be a sensible thing to do.  Is this correct though and if not, in which circumstances would you consider leading away from a king?

If declarer and dummy hold both the Ace and the queen, then leading the king could be a bad move for your defence.  Often, though, your partner will have one these cards in their own hand.  If partner holds the ace then you will usually be able to make at least two tricks.  If partner holds the queen, then leading  the king should set up at least one trick in the suit.

If the declarer’s bidding has shown a strong hand, or you believe that your partner holds a very weak hand, then it is probably safer not to lead away from a king if you can find a better lead.  In most circumstances, though, it should be safe to lead away from a king.

Let’s look at an example:

You are West and hold this hand
S. 10 9 6 3
H. A 5
D. 8 4 3
C. K 10 7 3

North East South West
1D Pass 1H Pass
2H Pass 4H Pass
Pass Pass

North (dummy) opened the bidding in diamonds.  Your hand is weak in diamonds and it is likely that declarer will want to discard from dummy. A lead of 3 clubs would be an attacking lead which could defeat the contract if our partner holds the Ace or the Queen.

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