Which suit gets the nod from you?
Lord Byron said, “I would rather ... have a nod from an American than a snuff-box from an emperor.”
That was an unexpected comparison. Nod is another of those words that has multiple meanings. You can get the nod, or you can nod off. Look at the West hand in today’s diagram. Before you nod off, which card gets your nod as the best lead against three no-trump after the given auction?
This deal was played 15 times in a duplicate. At 14 of those tables, the contract was three no-trump after the given auction. Surprisingly, 13 times the contract made. Only one West led the heart seven, after which the defenders took the first five tricks.
There is a general rule to lead the unbid major against no-trump. Here, West definitely should have picked the heart seven.
No doubt you have noticed that five clubs is cold for North-South. In the duplicate, one pair got there courtesy of East. Because he was a passed hand, he thought it was fine to overcall two hearts on round two. After two passes, North made a takeout double. South, with nothing else to do, continued with three clubs. (Yes, passing the double and leading a trump should have resulted in plus 500.) After West nudged with three hearts, North jumped to five clubs.
Finally, did you notice the clever ruse that South could have tried in three notrump after the heart lead? He could have played the 10 from the board. Then, after East won with his ace and returned the heart five, West might have erred by taking the trick with his nine instead of the king.