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?

  • What style of game: MatchPoints, Rubber, Chicago or IMPS? What is the vulnerability? Aug 31, 2013 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.

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.

  • 1
    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, 2013 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. Sep 1, 2013 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, 2013 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. Sep 1, 2013 at 19:19
  • 1
    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, 2013 at 5:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .