By Peter Rhead
Examples of Three No-Trump response to partner’s 2NT opening
When partner opens Two No-Trump, he is showing a strong balanced hand of 20-21 points. This strong opening greatly changes the dynamics of how you, the responder, answer. Now all you need is 4 points to consider the possibility of game (21+4=25).
With a measly 4 points, you are in the money, so gamble for the game. The worst case scenario is (20+4=24) points. With 12 points, you investigate slam (21+12=33). If you want to be conservative with your response consideration, you could use 5 points instead of 4 points. Five points makes the play of the hand a little easier! In today’s hands, we will play liberally, considering just four points from responder for game.
Following, you have examples of when to consider a Three No-Trump response. You sit there with these five example hands. Your partner has opened Two No-Trump showing a balanced or semi-balanced hand such as xxx xxxx xxx xxx (Spades Hearts Diamonds Clubs) or xx xxxxx xxx xxx with 20-21 points. What should you bid?
Case 1: You bid 3NT immediately. Your partnership should be in game. Your Ace is very valuable. Do not consider Stayman because you have no ruffing capability.
Case 2: You respond Three No-Trump directly. You want to be in game (20+7=27 points) and you know you do not have enough points for a slam. It makes no sense to Transfer to Clubs where your partnership would have to go to Five Clubs for the game!
Case 3: You have enough points to be in game (20+9 counting length). You first bid Three Diamonds as a Transfer to Hearts. Opening 2NT partner will complete the Transfer, Three Hearts. Then you bid Three Spades showing you have also five Spades and game points. Opening 2NT partner will now pick the game in Four Hearts or Spades or 3NT.
Case 4: You know your partnership has a game (20+10). You first bid Three Diamonds as a Transfer to Hearts. After opening 2NT partner completes the Transfer with a bid of Three Hearts, you bid 3NT to show that you have a game-going hand with your five Hearts. Opening partner then can play 3NT or correct to Four Hearts if he prefers Hearts.
Case 5: You know you have a game-going hand (20+5=25). You first respond Stayman, Three Clubs. Opening 2NT partner knows as soon as you bid, instead of PASS, that the partnership is going at least to game. Opening 2NT partner now might bid Three Diamonds denying a four-card major in which case you bid 3NT.
If opening 2NT partner bids Three Hearts or Three Spades, you bid four of his major. In either case opener will be happy for game with your hand.
Next Week: Examples of your Stayman response to partner’s Two No-Trump 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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