Richard C. Trench, a 19th-century English archbishop and poet, said, “Grammar is the logic of speech, even as logic is the grammar of reason.”

When you try a new bidding convention, probably a sequence will crop up that you didn’t discuss with your partner. Then you try to reason out its meaning using logic.

This week, we are studying New Minor Forcing. After one of a minor – one of a major – one no-trump, two of the unbid minor by the responder is artificial, promises at least game-invitational values, and asks opener for more information. But what about this sequence, where responder first bids one spade, then jumps to three hearts?

That cannot be weak, because responder would rebid two hearts. With a strong hand, responder would start with New Minor Forcing. So this indicates game-invitational values with two five-card or longer suits. South’s hand might look a tad weak, but the suits are great. North, with those wonderful major-suit honors, should have no qualms in bidding four hearts.

West leads the diamond ace and continues with the diamond king. South ruffs and drives out the spade ace. East exits safely with a diamond, declarer ruffs again, and West drops the queen. Now South, before he loses trump control, must establish a club trick. But when he leads a club toward dummy’s king-jack, and West plays low, should South call for the jack or king?

West has shown up with nine points in diamonds, but could not open the bidding. He cannot have the club ace. Declarer must finesse dummy’s jack.

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