~Another Forcing 1NT Call

1NT is the bid of choice in response to partner’s major suit opening bid when responder has less than an opening bid and cannot make a constructive raise to two of the major (this requires 8-10 dummy points and 3-4 trumps) or a limit raise to 3 of the major (which requires 11-12 dummy points and 4+ trumps). Since 1NT is forcing, 1NT can never be the final contract after a major suit opening. This can be good because when opener and responder have minimum hands, it is usually better to play in 2 of the major than in 1NT. It also makes it more difficult for the opponents to balance over 2 of the major than over 1NT.

Note: If partner opens 1H and you have a natural bid of 1S, by all means make this bid unless holding 3-card support or better in hearts. With a constructive raise in hearts and four spades, support hearts. An exception to the above would be when you hold 3-card support for partner’s hearts, 4 spades, and invitational points or better. In this situation, you have the strength fpr two bids. You may be able to find a superior 4-4 fit in spades than the 5-3 fit in hearts. If not, your likely second bid will be a jump to 3S (with Invitational points) or 4S or higher with a stronger hand.

1NT bids by responder

There are 3 categories of hands that require a 1NT bid. These are:
1. 3+ card support but less than 8 dummy points; opener bids 1S and you hold T83, Q4, KT83, J832 (7 points). Bid 1NT, then 2S over opener’s rebid.
2. 3- card support and 11-12 dummy points; opener bids 1S and you hold A94, K8, KT82, J832 (12 points). Bid 1NT, then 3S over opener’s rebid. All such jump bids in opener’s major after 1NT are limit raises with 3 trumps.
3. 3 card support and 6-12 HCP:
~Opener bids 1S and you hold K5, T74, KT72, J542 (7 points). Bid 1NT then correct to 2S over openers rebid.
~Opener bids 1S and you hold K5, K84, AT62, J542 (11 HCP). Bid 1NT then bid 2NT over opener’s rebid. This bid shows 11-12 points and a balanced hand.
~Opener bids 1S and you hold K5, KQT98, J764, 95 (9 HCP). Bid 1NT then bid hearts over opener’s rebid. This bid shows a range of about 8-11 points with a good 5+ card suit.
~Opener bids 1S and you hold K5, KQT986, J765, 5 (9 HCP). Bid 3H. This bid shows the equivalent of a good Weak Two Bid.

Consider the following three hands and compare a Standard American (SA) auction with a 2/1 auction:

1. S T83 H K7 D JT72 C Q853 2. S A83 H K7 D JT72 C Q853
3. S K3 H KQT97 D Q76 C 853

In each case, partner opens the bidding with 1S:

1. In SA, with 3 trumps and 7 dummy points, a raise to 2S is correct. However, playing 2/1 with CONSTRUCTIVE RAISES, a minimum of 3 trumps and 8-10 dummy points are required for a direct raise to 2S. So, we TEMPORIZE with 1NT and then bid 2S over partners rebid. This shows a weaker hand. The 2S bid says, “partner, either I do not have three trumps, or I do not have 8 points.

2. In SA, with 3 trumps and 11 dummy points, a jump raise to 3S is correct. In many partnerships, one can have either 3 or 4 trumps for this bid. In 2/1, 4 or more trumps are required for this bid. So, we TEMPORIZE with 1NT and then bid 3S over partners rebid. This shows a weaker hand in that it has only 3 trumps rather than 4 or more.

3. In SA, with 10 HCP and a good 5-card heart suit, the hand is too strong for a non-forcing bid of 1NT, so a bid of 2H is correct. Playing 2/1, however, a full opening bid is required to bid a new suit at the two level after a major suit opening bid. Then, with an opening bid opposite an opening bid, we can force the bidding to continue until game is reached. Because we require responder to have an opening bid to bid a new suit at the two level (a 2 over 1 bid), this bid is forcing to game. With the given hand we do not have an opening bid, so we TEMPORIZE with 1NT and then bid 2H over partners rebid. This shows a weaker hand.

In each case we are making the same bid we would make in Standard American without conventional agreements, AFTER we TEMPORIZE with a bid of 1NT. After temporizing with 1NT, our bids of 2S, 3S, and 2H, respectively, have a WEAKER meaning than had we bid 2S, 3S, and 2H directly. The comparison is as follows:

Bid Directly after temporizing with 1NT
2S 8-10 points and 3+ trumps 6-7 points if 3 trumps
6-9 points if 2 trumps

3S 11-12 points and 4+ trumps 11-12 points and 3 trumps

2H Full opening bid and 5 hearts 7-11 points and 5 hearts

A noteworthy point concerning the above three hands: 1NT is not forcing by a passed hand, nor is a new suit at the 2 level forcing by a passed hand. So, holding a 3-card limit raise hand when you have already passed requires a new treatment. This treatment is the use of the Drury convention. Simply stated, Drury is the use of the bid of 2C by a passed hand to show a hand with 3 trumps and 11-12 support points and 2D to show the same strength with 4+ trumps. Opener will sign off with a light opener by rebidding the major suit at the 2 level and continue to game with solid opener. This version of the Drury convention is known as Two Way Drury; for other versions, see the paper on The Drury Convention on this site.

Rebids by opener after 1NT Response

Having knowledge of the type of hands partner can have and bid 1NT, opener’s task is to make rebids that are informative while at the same time give the partnership the greatest flexibility.

If opener has a strong hand, they make the same rebid they would make in standard bidding. That is:
1. A jump to 3 of the opening major shows 17 to 18 points and a fine 6 or 7 card suit.
2. A jump shift is game forcing.
3. A raise to 2NT shows 18 to 19 HCP.
4. If opener has 16 to 17 points, they rebid a suit and then 2NT if given a second chance. Since we do not open 15-17 HCP hands that have a 5 card spade suit with 1NT, after your rebid of two of a minor and partners minimum response, you can bid 2NT to show an opening NT strength hand.

If opener has a minimum hand they rebid as follows:
1. A rebid of your major at the 2 level shows 6+ cards. There is no hand that you should rebid your major with 5 cards. If you open 1S with 6 and hold four hearts, you have to decide whether to rebid spades or bid hearts. There is no rule here; it will depend on suit texture and overall strength. A guideline is to rebid the 6-card suit unless the 4-card suit contains more HCP.
2. Without 6+ cards, bid a four or five card suit if you have one. If not, bid 2C (partner should announce that the club suit could be short. After 1S – 1NT and you hold AQ963, KQ5, Q87, T7, bid 2C. Partner will know you can have only 2 cards but that you also hold no more than three hearts or spades and will bid again, if possible.
3. A bid of 2 in the other major is always a 4+ card suit.
4. With hands having 4- 5- 2- 2 distribution and not strong enough for a reverse rebid of 2S, you will be forced to bid 2C! This is the real problem hand for the forcing NT and, therefore, some people play Flannery to solve the problem. See the Flannery paper on this site.

A Sequence of 1NT Responses and Rebids

You Partner
1S 1NT
2C 2S
This is the classic weak raise. If partner has three spades, he holds only 6-7 dummy points. Partner would make an immediate raise to 2S with 8-10 points. If partner has two trumps, he could have as many as 12 points (just short of a 2/1 raise to game).

1S 1NT
2C 2D
Responder is showing a diamond suit of 5+ cards. The hand could be as weak as K5, T2, QJT763, 964. With an invitational hand like  7, A83, KQJT98, 964  a jump to 3D after first bidding 1NT is correct. The idea is to distinguish between non-invitational hands using a temporizing bid of 1NT and a minimum raise and an invitational hand using a temporizing 1NT bid and a jump to the three-level. These are the recommended sequences if playing weak jump shifts all the time. There are other 2/1 versions where the direct bid of 3D in the above sequence would be invitational.

1H 1NT You should have a minimum opener and 6 hearts

1H 1NT
You should have 16-18 points and a fine 6-7-card suit

1H 1NT You should have a balanced hand and 17-18 HCP.

1S 1NT  You should have a balanced hand and 16-17 HCP. Partner
2C 2D    will bid 3NT if game is likely. A bid of 3D by partner shows
2NT       a poor suit for NT play and should be passed unless you have
very good diamonds to fill out the suit. However, if you had
that hand you probably would have bid 3NT over 2D.

1H 1NT      You should have a full reverse with 18+ HCP. This
2S            reverse is forcing one round.

1H 1NT      This is a jump shift and is forcing to game. You should
3C             be just short of a game-forcing two club opener.

1S 1NT       Partner has a limit raise with 3 trumps.
2D 3S

1S 1NT          Partner should have 10-12 HCP and a balanced hand
2D 2NT         with 2 spades.

1S 1NT           Partner should have 4 diamonds and 10-12 dummy points.
2D 3D

1S 1NT           Your 3S call shows 6 spades, a good four diamonds (you would not
2D 3D             bid 2D with a 3 card suit), and a hand good enough to invite game. If
partner has 2 spades, they should raise 3S to 4S if accepting the invite.

1S 1NT           What is going on here? Partner has made a weak spade
2D 2S             preference and now jumps to game. Your bid of 3D shows
3D 4S 5 diamonds and is invitational to game. Partner must have
good fitting cards in spades and diamonds and jumps to game.
The two hands should be something like:
You: A9873, 8, AKJ98, K4
Partner: KQ5, 762, Q75, 932

1H 1NT           Responder has a weak hand and probably 5 clubs. If responder has
2C P               only 4 clubs, they have only a singleton heart. If the opponents
compete to 2D and you have 6 hearts and 4 clubs and a hand
with something extra, try 2H. Partner will correct to 3C if
they have a singleton heart and 5 clubs.

1H 1NT           How can partner bid 2S when they did not bid 1S over 1H?
2C 2S             They must have the hand they were planning to bid 3C over
your rebid and have a spade feature as well. This bid is
the Impossible Spade Bid and is forcing for 1 round.


2 Responses to “~Another Forcing 1NT Call”

  1. donna Says:

    What are responder’s options for a rebid after opener has reversed (1H – 1NT – 2S)?

  2. donna Says:

    What are responder’s options for a rebid after opener’s reverse (1H – 1NT-2S)?

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