By Peter Rhead
Responses to One No-Trump opening
Most of you, like me, are stuck mainly at home, without our regular Bridge games. When you do not feel like on-line Bridge games, I hope these columns give you some rewarding entertainment. I enjoy writing them. My intent is to offer you a few challenges that might turn on the light switch every once in a while. Even if not used by your partnership, awareness of these conventions gives an idea how they work when used by your opponents.
Today and for the next few weeks, we will look at responses to partner’s One No-Trump opening (15-17 points). Each of your responses outlined below is dependent on your point count of either 8-9 points or 10 points plus.
Your partner opens One No-Trump. Depending on the nature of your hand, there are five possible responses: PASS, Two No-Trump, Three No-Trump, Stayman and Transfer. We will demonstrate each of these with examples in the coming weeks. Today we will summarize each of the five possibilities.
You PASS if you have fewer than 8 points and no five-card suit.
If you have fewer than 8 points and one or two five-card major suits, you transfer to your best five-card major suit then PASS after opener completes the transfer. Playing in a seven-card major suit fit at the two level is easier than playing One No-Trump with a weak dummy.
If you have 8 points or more, you have more options.
With 8-9 points and a balanced hand, something like xxx xxxx xxx xxx (Spades Hearts Diamonds Clubs), you bid Two No-Trump, inviting opener to go to the Three No-Trump game if opener is at a maximum for his bid. If you have 10 points or more with that balanced hand you bid the Three No-Trump game yourself (or consider slam). You know your partnership has the points for at least a Three No-Trump game (15+10 points).
If you have 8-9 points with at least one four-card major and an unbalanced hand, something like xxx xxxx xxxx xx, you bid Stayman, Two Clubs, and see what opener bids. Then you invite opener to go to game if he is at his maximum. You make the inviting bid either supporting opener’s bid suit or Two No-Trump.
If you have 10 points or more with at least one four-card major and an unbalanced hand, you bid Stayman, Two Clubs, and see what opener bids. This time you then bid game yourself, either supporting partner’s suit at game level or Three No-Trump.
If you have 8-9 points with one five-card major, something like xxx xxxxx xxx xx, you bid a transfer, in this case Two Diamonds transfer to Hearts. Opener completes the transfer to Hearts. Then you bid Two No-Trump inviting game or bid game Three No-Trump if you have 10 points or more. Opener will take the contract back to Hearts if he prefers and he will bid either game or part-score.
NOTE: Normally, with 8-9 points, you do not transfer to a six-card minor suit. If you end up in a minor suit part score, you are one level higher so the transfer is not worth it. However, with 10 points, you should transfer to the minor six-card suit.
If you have 8-9 points with one four-card and one five-card major, you bid Stayman and see what opener bids. If opener supports neither major suit, then you now bid your five-card major looking for the major suit fit. If opener cannot support your five-card major he bids Two No-Trump or, if at his maximum, he bids game Three No-Trump.
If you have 10 points or more and two five-card majors, you bid Two Hearts, a Transfer to Spades. Opener will bid Two Spades. Then you bid Three Hearts showing two five-card suits (Spades and Hearts) and game points. You have given opener a choice. Opener will either support Hearts or Spades at the game level or bid Three No-Trump knowing you have two five-card majors and at least 10 points.
Next Week: Examples of Two and Three No-Trump responses to 1NT Opening
Remember, as we all fight COVID-19 with social isolation, if you want your Bridge fix, online competition is available for all skill levels. From the ACBL Bridge website, you can hook up either to play live people or to play robots. Either way you test or consolidate various Bridge skills. At ACBL.org just click on “Play Bridge” and follow the prompts for various choices.
If you wish to promote an activity in your Bridge group or ask a Bridge question, send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to include it in this column.
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