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Take your partner by the hand

The No Trump bid at bridge is often at the centre of many bidding sequences — in most cases it is a very exact and descriptive bid and as a result should hand over “captaincy” of the auction to your partner.

For instance, when you open 1NT you tell your partner that you have 16-18 HCP, no singletons, no 5 card major, and usually at least 3-2 or 2-3 in the majors.

With your partner knowing so much about your hand, it makes sense for them to then guide the auction, even though they will normally have the much weaker hand of the two.

Given that the Regional is just around the corner, I thought it might be useful to skip the hand this week and to list a number of agreements you should have with your partner in the bidding involving No Trumps. In some cases, I will indicate my preference in that area.

What is your no trump range? Do you play transfers? Are transfers on after interference? What does it mean when Partner opens a No Trump, RHO overcalls and you double?

I suggest penalties and not negative doubles. You have to punish opponents who stick their neck out.

What if the overcall shows two suits?

I suggest double. Show a desire to penalise them and if LHO chooses a suit, your partner must double with a reasonable holding in that suit.

What does it mean when you make a non-jump bid after an opponent's overcall?

I suggest it is a non forcing bid — if you want to force, either jump or make a cue bid


I play this as invitational to 3NT with a six-card suit headed by 2 top honours. Your partner should only go on with the missing honour as you do not promise a lot outside your 6 card suit.

1NT-3H/3S is the same sort of hand as above but your partner night choose the major suit game with a great fit and some shortness in the side suits

Do you play Lebensohl after an opponent interferes over partner's NT opening?

You should.

Do you know the full range of the Lebensohl bids?

You should. It is fairly complicated in certain sequences but winning bridge needs some work.

When you Stayman and your partner responds with a major, does 2NT by you promise the other major?

It should, or you should not have used Stayman.

So what do these sequences mean?

1NT-2NT: Invitation to game with no 4 card major

1NT-2C-2H-2NT: Invitation to game with 4 spades

1NT-2C-2H — 3NT: I want to be in the game and I have 4 spades

What is the point range when you overcall an opening bid on your right with 1NT?

15-17? 16-18?

What is the point range when RHO opens a suit, you double, partner responds at the one level and you now bid a NT?


What does 2 clubs by partner mean after your NT overcall? Is it Stayman?

I think not — the bid of the opponent's suit should be Stayman.

Are transfers on in this sequence?

If you play transfers I think they should be on

After 1Minor-1Major, by you — 1NT by partner — is a new minor by you forcing and asking if partner has 3 card trump support?

It should be — partner's first responsibility is to show three card support if he has it, or to show another major if he doesn't he should bid a minor or NT

What does it show when LHO bids a suit and after two passes you bid 1NT?

11-13 balanced, with a stronger hand you reopen with a double.

What does it mean when LHO opens a suit, your partner passes, and RHO bids another suit and you bid 1NT?

Is it different if you are a passed hand?

You open 1NT and partner bids 4NT. Is that Blackwood?

No, it is quantitative asking you to bid on if you are top of your NT range. I play that if you accept the invitation you do so by now treating the 4NT as Blackwood and respond accordingly — just a safety belt check in case you have 32 points but the 8 missing points are two Aces.

Do you open a NT with a 15-17 HCP and a 5 card minor?

You should.

Do you open a NT with a 5 card major?

I would strongly recommend against it unless you have the systems to let partner explore if you do hold a 5 card major.

Do you open a NT with a 5-4-2-2 hand and 15-17 HCP?

Most will, unless the 2-2 are both majors, when it is recommended that you don't.

What is your 2NT opening — 20-22

When RHO opens and you jump to 2NT what does it mean? If the opening was a major you are showing a less than opening hand with at least 5-5 in the minors … if the opening bid was a minor you are showing the two remaining lower ranking suits

What is your 3NT opening?

This should be a Club or Diamond suit of AKQxxxx — if partner has a weak hand he bids 4 Clubs which you leave or convert to 4D.

There you are — and this just about No Trump bids! Discuss all of the above with your partner — what exactly you agree upon is less important than actually agreeing on something.

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Published January 13, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated January 13, 2018 at 12:06 am)

Take your partner by the hand

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