Journalist leads

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Journalist leads are an Opening lead convention in the game of contract bridge. The method is designed to solve some problems with traditional agreements regarding opening leads.[1] It bears some resemblance to Rusinow leads but differences exist. Journalist leads were advocated and publicized in the mid-1960s by the Bridge Journal and were named for that publication. (The Bridge Journal ceased publication in 1968 when its editor, Jeff Rubens, joined the editorial staff of The Bridge World.)

Not only do Journalist leads attempt to show what the opening leader has, but may also request the partner of opening leader to take specific actions, such as blocking. Journalist leads are normally used against notrump contracts.

  • With a holding of A-K-J-x, A-K-Q-10 or other similar sequence the defender would lead the King, which requests the partner to unblock by playing their highest card, King means 3 out of 5 honors.
  • In other situations the second of touching honours is normally played.
  • The lead of the Queen may be from K-Q-10-9 and requests partner to unblock the jack or may be from Q-J-10, in which case it is an exception to the rule to lead the second-highest of touching honours.
  • From A-J-10 or K-J-10, Q-10-9 and similar sequences the 10 is led, to indicate that a higher honor. From sequences without the higher honor, such as J-10-9-x the Jack would be led.
  • From long suits generally lead third or fifth best.
  • From long suits the defender does not want to see returned generally lead a high card.

The proposed advantage of Journalist leads is shown in this deal:

64
KJ1092 W    N↑ S↓    E A53
Q87

When West leads the Jack his partner may win the Ace and switch to another suit. When the 10 is led East will know to return the suit.

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