Examples of hands suitable for a 1NT opening:
1NT promises balanced suit distribution without any singletons or voids, namely:
However, 1NT may also be opened on semi-balanced distribution:
In "Commonsense Bidding", Bill Root cites the following semi-balanced hand as an example of distributed strength suitable for 1NT:
The SAYC bidding system states that 1NT "can be made with a five-card major". This is up to partnership agreement.
The advantages of opening 1NT with a 5-card major:
The disadvantage of opening 1NT is the danger of missing a major-suit fit. This can happen whenever partner holds 3- or 4-card support:
Consequently, partnerships may have special agreements with a 5-card major (up for discussion):
The following responses are consistent with the SAYC bidding system, which is comparable to any generic 5-card major system. However, variations always apply and these responses should not be considered universal for all bidding systems.
|Pass||0-7 points, no 5-card major (use a Jacoby Transfer instead) and no 6-card minor (bid |
|2||Stayman, showing 8+ points and at least one 4-card major. However, it typically excludes hands with 4-3-3-3 shape.|
|2||A Jacoby Transfer, showing 5+ hearts.|
|2||A Jacoby Transfer, showing 5+ spades.|
|2||Artificial, showing a weak 6+ card minor suit. Opener is required to bid |
Minor-Suit Stayman is a popular non-SAYC alternative to this approach.
|2NT||Invitational to 3NT. Shows 8-9 HCP and balanced shape. Denies a 4-card major unless holding 4-3-3-3 shape.|
|3||6+ clubs, 7-8 HCP. Invitational to 3NT.
As an alternative approach, it may simply be a weak sign-off bid. This method is espoused by expert Richard Pavlicek, among others.
|3||6+ diamonds, 7-8 HCP. Same comments as 3, above.|
|3||6+ hearts with slam interest. However, this agreement rarely comes up. Many players would simply start with a Jacoby Transfer.|
|3||6+ spades with slam interest. Same comments as 3, above.|
|3NT||Natural, 10-13 HCP.|
|4||Gerber, an artificial ace-asking bid.|
|4NT||Quantitative, inviting 6NT.|
As a non-SAYC alternative, the Lebensohl convention can be used to show a variety of hand types if the opponents double or overcall through
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