This is a conventional lead method, by which a bridge partnership can exchange communication. It is an opening lead method in which the third highest card is led from a three card suit, and the fifth highest card from a longer suit. This is a deviation from the times of Mr. Edmund Hoyle, when it was tradition to lead the fourth-best from any suit.

These leads are used generally against suit contracts, although some partnerships play this method against No Trump contracts. The practical purpose is to assist the partner in counting the distribution of the individual suits.

 

 

The guidelines are shown below.

1.  With an even number of cards lead highest card affordable telling partner you have a suit with 2, 4, or 6 cards (or it could be a singleton).
2. With an odd number of cards lead the lowest card telling partner you have a suit with 1, 3 or 5 cards.

These leads are per partnership agreement. The player on lead makes a decision to play from a certain suit. Generally the most preferred carding method is to lead a card, which communicates the most information to partner, be it from the top of a sequence or the top of an internal sequence. If the player on lead does not have such a lead, then the partnership agreement is to play Third and Fifth Lead Signals.

If the lead is a card from the trump suit, then the Third and Fifth Lead Signals do not apply.

Therefore, employing the Third and Fifth Leads method, the card to be led is expressed in bold in the following examples:

xx The lead of the highest card affordable is the preferred lead from a doubleton, or 4 cards or 6 cards.
xxx The lead from a 3-card suit is the lowest card.
xxxx The lead from a 4-card suit is the third card down.
xxxxx The lead from a 5-card suit is the fifth card down.
xxxxxx The lead from an even 6-card suit is the third card down or the highest affordable card. It is the quality of the suit, which determines this action.
AKx Lead from the top of a sequence.
109x Lead from the top of a sequence.
KQx Lead from the top of a sequence.
KJ10x Lead from the top of an internal sequence.
QJx Lead from the top of a sequence.
Q109x Lead from the top of an internal sequence.
KQ109 Lead from the top of a sequence.

 

The Third and Fifth Signals should be played together with the understanding of the concepts below:

See also: Rule of 10 and Rule of 11 and Rule of 12.



     
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