DEFENSIVE LEADS AND SIGNALS
SAYC by Ned Downey

When following suit, "high encourages" and "low discourages," relatively speaking, of course.

  • Opening leads are generally:
    • Low from an honor.
    • Top of sequences.
    • Top of touching honors against suit contracts.
    • Fourth best (when appropriate).
    • Low from touching honors versus notrump (i.e., for KQ83 lead the 3 and hope partner holds the jack or ace).
  • Partnerships chose:
    • Which card is led from AKx.
    • Which card is led from xxx, xxxx, and xxxxx.[note that most experts consider the 10 and 9 as 'mini-honors' and lead LOW from them as well as from the king, queen and jack but rarely low from the ace unless versus notrump.]
    • The lead of the queen versus notrump typically asks partner to DROP the jack if holding it (i.e. leading from Q1098).
    • The lead of the ace versus notrump typically asks partner to drop a high honor. If lacking a high honor, give count.
    • The lead of a king asks for attitude