What is a sequence? How many types are there? When should you lead the top of the sequence? What are the criteria for the lead of the King in No-Trumps? And above all, which approach should you adopt on the lead: count or attitude? The answers are explained in this article.
1- Choice of lead
1) The lead of an honour
a) Definition of a sequence of honours
The lead of an honour other than the Ace (see below) promises a sequence of honours. If the suit chosen is a long suit of at least four cards, you need three honours or two honours accompanied by a high intermediate card, no more than one rank away, to have a sequence. QJ9 forms a sequence; only one intermediate card is missing, the 10. QJ8 does not form a sequence; two intermediate cards, the 10 and the 9, are missing. Under these conditions, there exist three types of sequence.
A complete sequence is headed by three touching honours: AKQ82, KQJ64, QJ10753, J1097. The latter is likened to three honours.
An incomplete sequence is made up of two touching honours and a card just below the third card of the sequence: AKJ87, KQ10632, QJ98, J10865.
A broken sequence is made up of at least two touching honours and an isolated honour which is higher than that sequence: AQJ93, KJ109, A10975, K1098, Q10976.
In a suit headed by a sequence, lead the top of the sequence; that is, the strongest of the honours that are following each other.
So, you will lead the Queen with QJ108, QJ962, AQJ87.
b) The lead of the Ace
This only promises the King; it does not fall into the definition of a top-of-sequence lead against NT. The suit led tends to be three or four cards long; or, very exceptionally, five: in that case, the lead of a small card (see later) would be preferable. It is considered to be “a lead for one’s partner“. Under these conditions, it is logical for the signal on the lead of the Ace to be attitude: encouraging with the highest readable card, without giving away a trick; discouraging with the lowest card.
Lead the Ace with AK5 or AK75. Lead a small card, the 5, with AK754.
West leads the Ace of Hearts; East encourages with the 10, more readable than the 4 and transmitting a clearer message than the Jack, which shows a sequence headed by Jack-10 and which might discourage West from continuing the suit. The Jack is the card to play with Jack-10-9-fourth.
c) The lead of the King