The instrument of placing the lead is often closely associated with the hold up play, in that the decision of whether or not to hold up is in many cases governed by declarer’s ability to place the lead.
We have already seen some lead placing plays while considering the hold up. An attempt to lose the lead to one opponent rather than to the other, by a ducking play or unnatural finesse while developing your own suit, is made when there are grounds for believing that the opponent you wish to keep out could make a more damaging lead than his partner.
The attempt is, should you be obliged to lose a trick, to lose it to the less dangerous hand. At times a trick may be unnecessarily given up as a safety play or precaution as, for instance, in this hand:
6 4 2
A K 10 3
10 7 6 4
|A 7 3
Q 7 5
A K J 9 3
The contract is 3NT by South. A spade is led and dummy’s queen holds. A club is played and declarer’s ace takes the next trick. Both opponents we will assume have followed suit and the queen has not dropped.
The play is now to enter dummy with a diamond and lead a club. If East does not produce the queen, the finesse should be taken.
You may thereby sacrifice a trick to West’s queen, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing you have played correctly and in a manner that will always make game no matter how the adverse cards lie.
A possible premium of one trick is a small price to play for the certainty of game. If you had played for the drop of the queen and found East with three to the queen, you would have put the contract in jeopardy. East might lead a heart.