Auction echo can be reinforcing
Gene Luen Yang, a writer who used to teach high school computer science, said, “In my classroom, I would start my lessons with a quick review of an old topic. Then, I would introduce a new topic. Finally, I would give my students a problem to solve on their own, one that would reinforce what I’d just taught.”
That is an excellent pedagogic method employed in this column — I think! How would you critique the auction? (If you use two-over-one game-forcing, how would you bid?)
After South responded two diamonds (the higher-ranking of two five-card suits first), North should have rebid a forcing two hearts, not jumped to three hearts. South’s two-over-one response guaranteed a second bid (unless North leapt to game and South thought a slam was impossible). Then South sensibly rebid three no-trump. Now North should have bid four diamonds, over which South could have signed off in four no-trump or, if nervous that partner would have thought it was Blackwood, raised to five diamonds.
What should three hearts mean? I treat it as a splinter bid, showing four- or five-card diamond support, a good hand and a singleton or void in hearts.
In two-over-one, the auction is one spade - one no-trump - two hearts - two no-trump - three diamonds (or three notrump) - three no-trump - pass.
Against three no-trump, East knew from partner’s fourthhighest club-two lead that declarer had five clubs, but no shift looked sensible. So she won with her ace and returned the queen. South took that trick, drove out the diamond ace, and claimed 11 tricks.