~Bidding Over the Opponent’s 1NT

A good review of several bridge professionals’ favorite conventions for getting into the mix after an opponent opens 1NT
(15-17 HCP) is in the October 2007 issue of the ACBL Bridge Bulletin, beginning on page 13. Each partnership should have a method for overcalling the opponents’ 1NT opener based on criteria for vulnerability and for showing one-suited or two-suited hands. Here is a recommendation for determining when to overcall (Mel Colchamiro, page 18–Mel’s Rule of Eight) and a brief discussion of three conventions:
~Mel’s Rule of Eight: if you hold 6+ HCP, add the number of cards in your two longest suits. From that total, subtract your loser count. If the resultant is two or more, consider an overcall.

Cappellitti (called Hamilton by some players):
~Dbl: penalty/values; usually, a 1NT hand sitting behind the 1NT opener.
~2C: one-suited hand; partner bids 2D.
~2D: the majors; usually 5-5 but may be 4-4 with a near opener.
~2H: hearts and a minor; partner bids 2NT to ask for the minor.
~2S: spades and a minor; partner bids 2NT to ask for the minor.
~2NT: both minors.
This convention meets the requirements of the General Convention Chart.

DONT (Disturbing Opponents No Trump):
~Dbl: a long suit; partner bids 2D. If the single suit is spades, the hand is a full opener.
~2C: clubs and a higher-ranking suit.
~2D: diamonds and a higher-ranking suit.
~2H: hearts and spades.
~2S: a spade suit–either five cards or weaker than a full opener.
~2NT: any strong two-suiter.
~3 level: natural and preemptive.
This convention meets the requirements of the General Convention Chart.

Suction (the NBC version; allowed only in District 22 in regional events and below).
~Dbl: a long suit; partner bids 2C.
~2C: either a long diamond suit or a two-suited hand in the majors.
~2D: either a long heart suit or a two-suited hand in spades and clubs.
~2H: a long spade suit or a two-suited hand in the minors.
~2S: spades and diamonds, the pointy suits.
~2NT: clubs and hearts, the rounded suits.

Meckwell (simplified) Here are possible bids by the overcaller:
~Double: shows either a long minor or both majors. The advancer bids 2C. Overcalled can pass with clubs, correct to 2D, or bid 2H to show both majors.
~2C to show clubs and a major suit.
~2D to show diamonds and a major suit.
~2H to show 5+ hearts.
~2S to show 5+ spades.
~2NT to show the minors.
(bidding 5-card majors should show a bit better overall hand, say 3+ winning tricks). For runouts, see Meckwell in a search window.

Opener can show a strong hand by raising responder’s bid or by bidding 2NT over responder’s suit bid (two-suited hand). If opener bids 2NT over responder’s suit bid, responder should bid one of opener’s possible suits at the cheapest  level or jump in that suit with appropriate values.
Responder can show a big hand with fits in all of partner’s possible suits by jumping one level on the initial bid.

All these overall conventions are defensive in nature and designed for interference. The 1NT hand is limited by its flat shape and can often be counteracted by the opposition’s shape and fits.

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