Choosing which suit to lead is most of the battle for a defender. But don’t get careless and then lead the wrong card. Here are the four rules for which card to select to send the appropriate message:
(1) Lead top from a sequence of two+ touching high cards:
AK42, KQ3, J1052, KJ102
(2) Lead top from two cards:
97, Q3, 104, J7,
(3) Lead Low for Like:
KJ52, Q54, K103, Q964
(4) Lead High for Hate:
9752, 8732, 983, 7432
(try to lead second highest from rubbish, so that you can follow with the higher one next time, and so avoid the confusion with top from a doubleton).
Note that I am not necessarily recommending the above leads (indeed I have mentioned my general distaste for the top-of-a-doubleton lead on several occasions); merely I am telling you which card to lead, if you are to lead the suit.
When partner has led, you should make the following working assumptions:
This East did not get the message...
|Pass||3 ♠||Pass||4 ♠|
West reasonably chose ♥ 8 as his opening lead. The one suit he couldn’t afford to lead from was a diamond - away from the ace - but because he was desperate for partner to switch to the suit and not return a heart, he made sure he led a high heart (“lead high for hate”). The message fell on deaf ears. East won ♥ A and and returned ♥ 7. Declarer won, drew trumps, cashed ♣ AK discarding ♦ 6, and claimed ten tricks. Game made.
What should have happened
East wins ♥ A and, partner’s ♥ 8 being a clear high for hate lead, switches to ♦ J (dummy’s weakness). This scoops up three quick tricks for the defence - down one.
If you remember one thing...
Do not return partner’s lead of a high spot card (unless you suspect it to be top from two cards).