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With equal vulnerability, opponents bid 1 club, 1 spade, 1NT, 3NT.

I'm sitting West, opening from: (s) xxx (h) J8732 (d) T9x (c) xx.

I don't fancy leading my ragged hearts suit with no side entry. So should I lead the other unbid suit, diamonds, and hope that partner has 4-5 of them, headed by enough honors so that my T9 sequence isn't wasted? The opponents probably have 26-27 HCPs between them; my one leaves 12-13 for partner.

Suppose my hand were upgraded to (s) xxx (h) J8732 (d) ATx (c) xx. Now I have 5 HC points, versus 8-9 for partner. Is this a better time to lead "fourth best" from my heart suit?

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What style of game: MatchPoints, Rubber, Chicago or IMPS? What is the vulnerability? –  Pieter Geerkens Aug 31 '13 at 23:52

1 Answer 1

In general, you are correct not to lead that ratty heart suit with a bad hand. Instead lead DT hoping to catch a quack in dummy and partner with some cards in the suit. With luck you might get in again with a heart to lead the suit a second time for partner.

That being said however, the opponents bid game aggressively; in MatchPoints it might be better to try the heart 3 with the goal of not giving up an overtrick, rather than defeating the contract.

With the second hand, not playing MatchPoints I definitely lead the heart suit; or if the auction had finished 1NT - 2NT - 3NT I lead the heart because opponents have bid a minimum game. However in MatchPoints, with the opponents having bid to game strongly, I am leading the heart suit only because every other possibility is worse and so the heart lead is least likely to give up an overtrick.

Update:
As pointed out below by Ruds, if the opponents play CBS or NMF over 1NT in this auction, then the failure of responder to do so is a loud denial of a 5-card spade holding. In this case only a spade lead (highest spot usually, but dependent on leading conventions) can be considered at all vulnerabilities and styles.

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A spade seems less likely to give up a trick in this auction than a heart. Declarer has 1-3 spades and dummy will likely come down with 4 only (with 5, NMF or a similar convention may well have been bid). Also, partner likely has opening values but didn't act after 1C-1S; I suspect we have more spades than they do. –  ruds Sep 1 '13 at 5:55
    
Actually dummy is more likely than not to come down with 5, because not enough spades are located. Dummy is known to have 4+, we have 3, and declarer has 2.5. 3.5 spades are unaccounted for, and there are only two hands for them to go into: partner's and dummy's. Dummy is very likely to have at least one of the 3.5 spades unaccounted for. –  Pieter Geerkens Sep 1 '13 at 6:18
    
Why is dummy not bidding NMF or checkback to show the fifth spade? After 1C-1S-1NT and holding a 5-card spade suit, 4S could very easily be the best contract from dummy's point of view, and he will likely explore for it. –  ruds Sep 1 '13 at 19:02
    
Because it is not in the conventions listed by OP as being played. One cannot pick and choose which conventions the opponents are playing. –  Pieter Geerkens Sep 1 '13 at 19:19
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The OP listed no conventions, nor even a point range for opponents' 1NT or whether they open 4-card majors, but OK, let me modify my earlier statement. Assuming opponents play a convention that lets them explore a major-suit fit after 1m-1M-1NT (as many pairs do these days, even in the clubs), consider leading a spade on this auction. –  ruds Sep 2 '13 at 5:54

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