Journalist against no trump contracts
This is the key advance in the Journalist system. You have to rein back your old this is what I've got attitude of standard lead systems and ask rather - What signal do I want from partner? Within this concept you use the following system:
- Ace Asks for unblock of any honour or a count signal (eg. echo=even)
- King Non-descript from KQ10 or AK; asks for an attitute signal
- Queen Asks for unblock of the jack (if held), or an attitutude signal It is also quite OK to lead queen from eg QJ9763 in which case you will always get attitude!
- Jack Generally weak - denies a higher honour eg J1064. Deception: They suggest a lying jack from AJ1064 if partner won't get in
- Ten A strong lead promising a higher honour. Partner should play any honour (subject to dummy's holding) or give count
- Nine Generally weak from 109x, but also from 98x - nines are ambiguous
- Spot leads are third and fifth, and top of nothing
Note that with touching honours there is always a strong (signal asking) or nondescript lead, and you can often take your pick (even telling lies if appropriate)! The Journalist 3rd and 5th leads are important giving rapid count. There are some special cases:
- Leading against a slam - lead highest honour for clarity. Interior sequences not a problem here - and lowest from Hxx giving the count.
- Leading your partner's suit - again top honour is clearer from QJxx but low from say Qxx. If you have supported lead top of nothing. If partner has not bid the suit and you are trying to find it their opinion is that low from nothing giving the count is preferable (ie assume partner can work out your strategy)
Journalist against suit contracts
Against a suit contract the system is much more simple. Use third and fifth or Rusimov (Roman) leads from honour sequences. So an honour lead always promises the card above. Ace demands a count echo as usual
After supporting partner's suit an alternative is to always give the count - leading low from say Q83
This makes the three from Q832 ambiguous, so you agree the amplify the signal leading the second highest from four for this purpose 2-9 are all termed as small cards. Generally this gives partner an immediate count which the authors consider more useful than attitude ie. low from Qxx(x)