The top card is led from holdings like A-x, K-x, Q-x, J-x and 10-x to unblock the suit and to enable partner to take as many tricks as possible in the suit
|8 7 2|
|10 9 4|
West leads the ace and East can cash as many tricks as are available. If West leads low, the defence takes only two quick tricks in the suit. (NOTE: If East is on lead and leads the king, West must unblock the ace. Overtake the king with the ace and return the 6. Then East-West collect all their tricks. If East leads the king and West plays low, the defence can take only two quick tricks.)
|10 9 5 2|
If West leads the king and then low, East-West can take five tricks in no-trumps. If West leads low, the defence cannot take five tricks at once. In a suit contract, if West leads the king and then low to East, West is in a position to overruff South on the third round. If West leads low to East's ace and wins the second round West is not in a position to score an overruff
|A 10 4|
If West leads the queen and continues, East's suit is set up whether South wins the ace at once or later. If West leads low first, South can block the East-West suit by winning the ace on the first round or by ducking the second round to West's queen.
|K 9 5|
|J 6||A Q 10 7 2|
If West leads the jack, dummy's king is trapped at once. If West leads low, declarer can play the 9. East wins but dummy's K-5 is still a stopper at no-trumps. At trumps, East could continue with the ace and give West a ruff, but jack first allows the defence to take three tricks without using one of Wests trumps.
|A9 8 6|
If West leads the 10, East's suit sets up at no-trumps, no matter when South takes the ace. If West leads low, South can block the suit by taking the ace on the first round or by ducking the first and second rounds.
The top card from a rag doubleton is the standard way of telling partner that you have precisely two cards in the suit When partner sees a high spot card followed by a lower spot card, partner can deduce that you have led a doubleton. In a suit contract, partner then knows that you can ruff the third round. In any contract, knowing you hold a doubleton enables partner to work out how many cards declarer holds in the suit.
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