Mike Lawrence
Mike Lawrence

Wikipedia: Michael Steven Lawrence (born May 28, 1940) is an American bridge player, teacher, theorist, and prolific writer. Lawrence was born in San Francisco. He started playing bridge while he was a chemistry student at the University of California.

In 1968, he was invited by Ira Corn to join the newly formed Dallas Aces team. He formed a partnership with Bobby Goldman, with whom he played a 2/1 game forcing system. They started by winning several North American Bridge Championships and, after a long Italian Blue Team reign, returned the world crown to America by winning the Bermuda Bowls in 1970 and 1971. Lawrence and James Jacoby left the Aces in 1973.

He has written more than twenty books. He received numerous book-of-the-year awards starting with his first book, How to Read Your Opponents’ Cards. He contributed to the theory of 2/1 game forcing systems, and his “2/1 semi-forcing” approach competes with Max Hardy’s “unconditional forcing” approach. Together, they wrote the book Standard Bridge Bidding for the 21st Century in 2000. He also helped develop educational bridge software with Fred Gitelman.

In addition to his world championships with the Aces, Lawrence has won another Bermuda Bowl in 1987 in partnership with Hugh Ross along with  teammates Hamman, Wolff, Martel and Stansby.

IMPs Dealer North. N/S Vul

J 10 8 3
A Q 2
Q 6
K J 9 7
A 7 6
9 7 3
K 10 5 4 3
A 3
West North East South
1 Pass 2NT
Pass 3NT Pass Pass
Pass

South 2NT showed 13-14 high-card points.

West led the4 and dummy took the trick with the queen, East following with the8. Declarer led theJ and when it came around to West, he had to decide whether to win and if so, how to continue.

Do You have any ideas?

South made a good try to steal a spade trick before setting up club tricks, but West had theA and took it. It still required that West continue diamonds, but fearing that South had the ace and jack, he was hesitant to lead them again. East and West were using a convention called the “Foster Echo”. East, in this situation, is required to play the second highest diamond when he can´t beat dummy’s card. Here, that meant that East played the8. West couldn’t tell if East had the nine or the jack. The Foster Echo is a convention that has run its course and should now be relegated to the garbage heap.

Better is for East to signal this way. If dummy has one honor and plays it, as happens in the hand, East should play his second highest card only when he has the honor that West will be interested in. East can see that West will be interested in theJ so he plays the8 to say he has the missing honor. If East had 9 8 7, he would play his lowest card to indicate no interest. This treatment is much better than the Foster echo, which is more confusing than helpful.

J 10 8 3
A Q 2
Q 6
K J 9 7
A 7 6
9 7 3
K 10 5 4 3
A 3
5 4 2
J 10 6 5
J 8 2
8 6 5
K Q 9
K 8 4
A 9 7
Q 10 4 2

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