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Coded Nines and Tens (Jack Denies, 10 Implies) - An opening lead system designed to show honor holdings.  A lead of a 9 or 10 implies either zero or two higher honors in the suit led, while leading a Jack suggests no higher honors.  Normal "low from honor" lead carding still applies, as 4th best, etc.  When partner leads a 9 or 10, partner generally assumes leader has 2 cards above unless the player in the third seat can see the complimentary card.  So if leader plays the 10 and the 9 is in either the dummy or the hand of third seat player, assume zero above; the same is true if the 9 is lead and the 10 is visible.  Otherwise, assume partner has 2 cards above the 10 or 9.  Incidentally, a common treatment is that the lead of the 9 promises one of the two higher honors is the 10 (otherwise, simply lead fourth best from a broken honor sequence when not holding the 10).  Particularly against opponent's Notrump contract, leads include:

Suit

Lead

J 10 8 2

Jack - Jack denies (normally top of sequence, maybe broken)

Q J 9 2

Q - lead the top of broken sequence (not the 9, which could lose to opponents 10)

A J 10 4

10 - shows two higher

K 10 9 3

9 - shows two higher, one of which must be the 10

Q 10 9 7

9 - shows two higher, one of which must be the 10

J 9 7 5 3

C5 - standard 4th best from an honor

Q 10 9 7

9 - shows two higher, one of which must be the 10

9 7 5 3

C7 or C9- without honor, lead top or next to top

A 10 9 4 2

9 - shows two higher, one of which must be the 10

K Q 10 9 2

Q - while K seems normal, an better treatment is the lead of the A or Q asks for an unblock of partners honor as J 2 from a doubleton

A K J 10 2
A K Q 10 2
A Q J 10 2
A K J 9 2

A, asking for an unblock or count

A K 10 9 2
A Q 10 9 2

9 exceptionally.  Leading the 10 may confuse partner the lead was from a sequence.  It's far better to ensure partner knows leader has at least two honors above the opening lead rather than be misled into believing Declarer has all the honors

A Q 9 3 2

Lead the 3.  While leading the 9 shows two card above its value, by common agreement one of the outstanding honors must be the 10. Thus, lead fourth best 3, hoping partner holds the K or J.

A 10 9 3 2

This time lead the 9.  The lead of the 9 shows two cards above its value, one of which must be the 10.


Also see Details on signaling and books on Leads
 

 

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