Journalist leads are a system of opening lead agreements vs. no-trump contracts:

  • Ace from a very strong holding that requests partner to unblock a top honor, if he has one. For example, leading the ace from AKJT5 asks partner to play the queen. Without an honor to unblock, partner should give a count signal instead.

  • King from AK(x) or KQ(x) asks partner to give an attitude signal. Note that a low card (e.g. fourth best) should be led from a long suit like AKxx or KQxxx if trying to establish the suit.

  • Queen from any suit headed by QJT or KQT9. The lead of the queen from KQT9 is now considered a standard lead. It asks partner to unblock the jack if he has it.

  • Jack from any suit headed by JT. The jack denies a higher honor, and is NOT led from interior sequences such as AJT9.

  • Ten from any interior sequences headed by the ten. Examples: AT95, KT98, QT954. The ten guarantees a higher non-touching honor, i.e. the ace, king or queen.

  • Nine from any suit headed by the T9. Examples: T95, T932.

  • Lower spot cards are third and fifth leads.


Journalist leads derive their name from their original source of publication, "The Bridge Journal" magazine in the 1960s.

See also

  • 0 or 2 higher leads
    An approach whereby the lead of a 10 or 9 suggests zero or two higher honor cards.

  • Ace from Ace-King
    The practice of leading the ace when holding the ace and king of a suit.

  • Fourth-best leads
    The practice of leading the 4th-highest card from a 4-card holding or longer.

  • Jack denies, Ten implies
    A lead agreement whereby the jack denies a higher honor, but the 10 does not.

  • MUD
    The practice of leading the middle card from three small cards.

  • Rusinow leads
    The practice of leading the second-ranking honor from any two honors like A-K or K-Q.

  • Standard leads
    A table of standard leads against suit and no-trump contracts.

  • Third and fifth leads
    The practice of leading the 3rd or 5th highest card from a long suit.