Everyone bids lighter and lighter
G.K. Chesterton, an English poet who died in 1936, said, “Nowadays a citizen can hardly distinguish between a tax and a fine, except that the fine is generally much lighter.” How is “lighter” relevant to bridge? Fine play at the money-bridge table will leave the opponents with lighter wallets. Also, the best players are opening and responding lighter and lighter these days.
Look at the North-South hands -- which is the stronger? Do you agree with the auction, or would you prefer a different sequence?
Less experienced players, who like guidelines, may apply the rule of 20. You add your high-card points to the number of cards in your two longest suits. If the total equals at least 20, you are supposed to open at the one-level. In this deal, South’s hand qualifies, but North’s does not. However, that South hand is not an opening bid, because it has a potentially useless two-honor doubleton in spades and a load of quacks (queens and jacks). A minimum opening should contain at least one ace or two kings. The North hand, in contrast, fails the rule but is definitely an opening bid. It has two aces, one king and great intermediates.
The given auction reaches a hopeless spot. Even if North had 10-third of hearts, the contract might fail. I believe that the auction should proceed: pass - one diamond - two no-trump - pass. Note that even two no-trump goes down if West shifts to a spade before declarer has driven out the diamond ace. The defenders can take one spade, four hearts and one diamond.