Kurt Vonnegut, whose best-known book is “Slaughterhouse-Five,” said, “Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.”

Bridge causes laughter and frustration – if one side is inwardly laughing, the other is probably frustrated. Look at the North hand in today’s diagram. With neither side vulnerable, your right-hand opponent opens one spade. What would you do?

You have three choices: pass, two diamonds (higherranking of two five-card suits first) and two no-trump (the Unusual No-trump, showing at least 5-5 in the minors). Pass might result in your side’s missing a good fit. But if you are due to be outbid, passing will not give helpful information to the opposing declarer. Two diamonds risks ending in diamonds when you belong in clubs, but does not drive your side to the three-level on a relatively weak hand. Two no-trump will at least find your side’s better minorsuit fit, but is aggressive with such unimpressive suits. Also, if they win the auction, you will have given their declarer a complete map of the deal.

One columnist recommended pass, but said two diamonds was acceptable. I think two diamonds is the worst choice. Either stay out or make sure you find the right fit and potentially frustrate the opponents.

Here, over two diamonds, partner might well pass, and the contract will fail. But over two no-trump, he will bid three clubs, and that can be made, for example, by establishing the diamonds. There are several possible lines of play. For the curious, download Deep Finesse free from deepfinesse.com.

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