Lesson 9

Responding to No Trump Opener

We've now got our convention fixed for a 1 suit opening, but of course, our partner could bid either 1NT if they have 12-14 points and a balanced hand or 2NT if they have 20-22 points. So this lesson will look at hoe we respond to those opening.

Let's start by looking at this hand which our partner has opened at 1NT.

We can see that we have a nicely balanced hand and totalling up our points we have 13 points. A No-Trump opener with a Balanced hand in response is pretty straightforward to respond to.

We know that our partner has at least 12 if not 14 points and that they are Balanced. So it's simply a point counting exercise to determine how we should respond, so let's show our first 1NT response rules.

With a Balanced hand and less than 11points, PASS.

We don't have enough points between us to raise the bid any higher.

With a Balanced hand with 11 or 12 points bid 2NT.

With a minimum of 23 points between us, we should be good for 2NT and you're letting your partner know your hand shape and point count.

With a Balanced hand with 13-18 points we bid 3NT.

We have at least 25 points which means we stand a good chance of making 3NT.

And what if we are Balanced and have more than 18 points? Well this is getting into more advanced territory, but we'll touch on it briefly here.

With a Balanced hand with 19+ points we bid 4C.

Do you remember the 2C opening bid earlier that said we had 23+ points? It was an Unnatural bid that told our partner we had lots of points. This bid is similiar in that it doesn't mean we have lots of Clubs. It's actually a convention caller Gerber and what it is doing is asking our partner how many Aces they hold which will determine whether we can move to a Slam bid.

This is an advanced bidding so let's not worry about it for now!

What's more relevant is how we deal with 1NT if we have an Unbalanced hand.

Here is our hand and partner has again opened 1NT.

In this hand we obviously have an Unbalanced hand and our point count is only 5 points. This is too few to support the opening, so we PASS.

If 5 points or less and Unbalanced, PASS.

Let's try another hand.

The addition of the Q gives us another couple of points to bring us to 7, but we are still too weak to support.

6-10 Point and Unbalanced, PASS

Hey, how come we don't juat have 1 rule to say 10 or less then pass? Well, it's because there are instances where we would make a bid and this following hand shows an example of it. Again, our partner has opened with 1NT.

Here, we can see we have a nice selected of Clubs. With a long Minor suit holding at least 2 honours and within the 6-10 point range we can consider raising to 3NT.

6-10 Points, Unbalanced, with 6+ Diamonds or Clubs with Honours bid 3NT

Let's take a look at the next hand.

Our point count is increased to 11 points. This means we can look to raise the bid and we do by bidding our longest at the 3 level, showing our partner our longest suit and letting them know we have more that 10 points. So in this case we would bid 3. Let's see our new rule.

11-18 points, Unbalanced, bid our longest suit at the 3 level.

And more than 18 points?

19+ points, Unbalanced, bid 4C.

This is our Gerber bid, the same as for a Balanced hand.

Why not practice your responses or move onto the next lesson