The Simple Strength of 1NT

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Every bid we make has two functions. There is the literal meaning–a wager to take a certain number of tricks, as well as the descriptive meaning–a message to partner about what cards you hold. When partner is a passed hand, the message you send to partner is less important, because partner is limited and will not get the auction too high. In these situations, it’s sometimes best to bend the rules about what you’re allowed to do. For instance, bidding 1NT with an unexciting 15 count is often a winning action if you’re playing ACOL. Try to do it as much as you can!

77 Comments

  1. What do you open, 1 or 1NT? Did you stick to the rules or tell a little white lie?

  2. amafyram says:

    Well, I opened 1C. Does 1NT lead to a better result?
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 3
    P P 3 P
    P P

  3. awarrenz says:

    I cannot tell a lie! So that means I opened 1NT and we ended up getting the 2H we settled on.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1N
    P 2 P 2
    P P P

  4. hound says:

    I would save my fibbing for another occasion. 1nt describes my distribution and point count and helps to keep the rifraff out of the bidding. Ended up in 4 hearts which with a bit of luck made.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1N
    P 2 P 2
    P 2N P 4
    P P P

  5. lynng says:

    Ive been taught to open 1 NT even with a 5 card major. However, we didn’t have points for game. I wouldn’t have made 4 but west discarded a 10 of clubs when dummy still had low clubs. My lucky day.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1N
    P 2 P 2
    P 2N P 3
    P P P

    • katec001 says:

      @lynng Absolutely agree. Only 3H in it. West shouldn’t have discarded the 10C. I didn’t open 1NT because of my weak spade doubleton. I then followed the hints which lead me towards the bottom of the list with a lot of others.
      Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
      Auction
      W N E S
      – P P 1N
      P 2 P 2
      P 2N P 4
      P P P

    • katec001 says:

      @lynng unless you guess East has the K doubleton in clubs and after finessing the K once you lead the 3C not JC.
      Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
      Auction
      W N E S
      – P P 1
      1 X 2 2N
      P 4 P P
      P

  6. banksia9 says:

    After losing 2S and 1H, we have to play the clubs for no loser.
    How can we do it?
    Well, we have to assume that East has K, otherwise we have no hope.
    So, we lead Q-K-A-4
    What now?
    We will have to assume West has T.
    So, we run the 9 and get the good news.
    This is the “percentage line”. i.e. The line which will succeed most often.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1N
    P 2 P 2
    P 2N P 4
    P P P

  7. rahamrick says:

    With a doubleton of two small spades, I think 1 NT open is not a good bid. I opened the clubs. I took North’s X to mean that we could play in any of the other three suits. So I chose to rebid the clubs — but only to the 3 level. We took them down 1. I am happy enough with that outcome. I will try again X on their 3 spade contract and see how we do with that!

    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 3
    P P 3 P
    P P

  8. janemart says:

    It seems to be a bit of a trick question to me. Apart from fibbing, doesn’t it depend on whether you play weak or strong NT?
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 P
    P P

    • player4 says:

      @janemart Hi. Thank you for your kind comments yesterday. You remain my prime measure of success in this crazy game; I always check your score first. Last week you handed me a hiding but I’ve been lucky enough to do better the last few days. Strongly suspect you’ll come back strongly. Started today badly having doubled them but I hope it’s not a sign of things to come! We’ll see . . .
      Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos.
      Auction
      W N E S
      – P P 1
      1 X 2 X
      P P P

  9. suec88 says:

    Hum, knew partners second bid of 2NT must be invitational but I went the wrong way with the invitation! Blast, why didnt he just go 3 H then i would have gone to 4?
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1N
    P 2 P 2
    P 2N P 3N
    P P P

    • graeme says:

      He doesn’t know you have three card support, @suec88, you might only have two. That 2NT bid invites to game and gives a choice of hearts or notrumps. You can safely go back to hearts yourself because you know partner has 5 of them. Make sense?

      • suec88 says:

        thanks Graeme that makes sense, didn’t realise it meant he had 5, the great thing about bridge is we learn something every day!! Thanks as always for this fabulous site 🙂

      • suekirby says:

        @graeme Hi there. Yes, great site! I’m addicted! However, I don’t understand why partner doubled instead of bidding his 5-card heart suit. Why does bidding 2NT after bidding 2D mean he has 5H? And what is the purpose after an opening NT bid (and presumably after this second bid of NT) invite a suit following the one actually meant? – i.e. D actually means H? I can’t get my head around that one…

      • suekirby says:

        @graeme Hi there. Yes, great site! I’m addicted! However, I don’t understand why partner doubled instead of bidding his 5-card heart suit. Why does bidding 2NT after bidding 2D mean he has 5H? And what is the purpose after an opening NT bid (and presumably after this second bid of NT) invite a suit following the one actually meant? – i.e. D actually means H? I can’t get my head around that one…

      • suec88 says:

        @graeme answered too quickly in my last comment, i thought the 2D transfer meant partner had 5 heatrs, so i knew about that, it was the 2NT that had me confused, anyway never mind learning all the time.

      • suec88 says:

        @graeme answered too quickly in my last comment, i thought the 2D transfer meant partner had 5 heatrs, so i knew about that, it was the 2NT that had me confused, anyway never mind learning all the time.

      • jackie653 says:

        @graeme May I suggest that at the bottom of all comments pages there be a “ToTop” button for quick return to top of page.

  10. snowwhite says:

    @skybridgeclub I wasn’t sure what to do after partner doubled W’s Spade bid and E went to 2 Spades. Checked the hint which said that a double was a takeout double. Partner didn’t re bid and took it as a penalty double.???

    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 3
    P P 3 X
    P 4 P P
    P

  11. We got taught 12-14 balanced opens 1NT, 15 balanced opens the suit then rebids the next NT… and this time following the rules worked perfectly. 😀 Bid 4S made 4S %uD83D%uDC4D
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 2N
    P 4 P P
    P

  12. chrisssyb says:

    went with my gut!
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 3
    P P 3 3N
    P 4 P P
    P

  13. billdrews says:

    I didn’t have to fib because laying it on the line brought success.

    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 3
    P P 3 4
    P P P

  14. hagleyjazz says:

    I thought that double was for take out. I think it would have been better to bid hearts after partners negative double
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 X
    P P P

  15. hagleyjazz says:

    Aargh they went a level higher and I let them make an extra trick. Duh
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 3
    P P 3 P
    P P

  16. carro88 says:

    Well…1C opener. When partner doubled I doubled again to give choice of 2 unbid suits back. N left it in, so not so good! Don’t see how I could bid to origanal plan in NT with both hands short in spades.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 X
    P P P

  17. carylm says:

    I wasn’t brave enough to bid 1st when spades had been bid twice

    Bidding System: 5 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 3
    P P 3 P
    P P

  18. negev says:

    My Double was for takeout!! I had no intention to be left with doubling 2 spades!!
    The hint agreed the double was for take out.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 X
    P P P

  19. feltjen says:

    Happy, bid 1nt on my 15 points. With together 8 H and a doubleton in spades went to 4 h, and made it!
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1N
    P 2 P 2
    P 2N P 4
    P P P

  20. sockstevens says:

    My really cheeky 3H and the discards in C seemed to work, so my amazement of partner raising to game was rewarded.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 3
    P P 3 X
    P 4 P P
    P

  21. monty27dog says:

    What is a negative double anyone please? How would you show a negative double in a bridge game at a club?
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 X
    P P P

    • ijohn says:

      @monty27dog A Neg X is after opp overcalls your P or vice versa.If opp overcalls in a minor the NEG X shows both majors. If overcall is in a major the neg x Shows 4 in other major and another minor
      Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos, transfers.
      Auction
      W N E S
      – P P 1
      1 X 2 2N
      P 4 P P
      P

  22. wadkin37 says:

    wadkin37 After Partner ‘s neg X, I puzzled over which 3 card suit to bid, D or H. I thought it best to go up the line, so my rebid of 3 D. Should’ve
    thought a moment longer and realized that Partner preferred a major suit. Off to another fun day at SBC!
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 3
    P P 3 X
    P 4 P P
    P

  23. annettelarke says:

    Opened 1NT – and ended up in 3H – one down. @skybridgeclun
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1N
    P 2 P 2
    P 2N P 3
    P P P

  24. felday says:

    Got them 1 down doubled. West refused to ruff the third Diamond and it was the setting trick.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 X
    P P P

  25. nelle says:

    Yes 4H make game. Too bad I let E/W make 3H.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 3
    P P 3 4
    P P P

  26. nelle says:

    I meant 3 S.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 3
    P P 3 4
    P P P

  27. up1tick says:

    Always fib —
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 3
    P P 3 4
    P P P

  28. debdaniels says:

    Congrats to top. Best bet!
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1N
    P 2 P 4
    P P P

  29. Doubled their contract & it made, but worth the try I thought. Will now be sensible & try again.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 X
    P P P

  30. 3 spades X by east west going down was the best of a few shots. Opened a club despite playing a strong nt. Tried playing in 4 hearts & went down 1.
    Will now read the comments.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 3
    P P 3 X
    P P P

  31. Hi @monty27dog, playing a negative double at a club requires your ptn to know what you,re on about. At my club they haven’t a clue….but very nice people!
    I believe a negative X is when say the oppo’s open, ptn passes, oppo’s ptn bid’s, you then do a double – negative – to tell ptn you have some values. Then ptn would hopefully bid. Just raising the game a little. Check with Graeme though.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 3
    P P 3 X
    P P P

  32. gupgop says:

    Partner – you must bid again! It might be different if you could produce a spade trick.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 X
    P P P

  33. ijohn says:

    after my 2NT rebid,my p raised me to 4H which makes and gives me top spot out of 1485. Secret here is to dump club loser asap,and finesse KC leaving your Q and JC as tops.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 2N
    P 4 P P
    P

  34. marsbar29 says:

    I was taugt 15-17 points for 1NT with a balanced hand, Tries 3NT went down
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1N
    P 2 P 2
    P 2N P 3
    P P P

  35. jb4400 says:

    Why does N go to 2NT when we play transfers?
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1N
    P 2 P 2
    P 2N P 3N
    P P P

  36. suekirby says:

    I also made 4H but I would never have known that I should have bid it. My C lead was answered by a doubling of spades. My partner never let me know anything after that. He passed every time. WRT the take-out double (whatever it means), I thought I was being told that partner had 4 of both majors. Partner definitely did not have 4 of anything except hearts, of which he had 5, so why the heck didn’t he bid them? Sometimes I think I’m going backwards…
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 3
    P P 3 4
    P P P

  37. judyjunkin says:

    Firt timeI let E W get the bid for 4 S and they made it.! So I played again and mentioned the H suit and we ended up in 4 H. this got me a #1 rank and I also made the bid.! I don’t know what happened to N who should have made the bid but it all worked out.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 3
    P P 3 4
    P P P

  38. mrsh says:

    Playing strong no trump I opened 1NT. Partner transferred and then went 2NT showing only 5H. With a minimum hand and weakness in spades I stopped at 3H…and made them. I see others were braver and more successful…kudos to them.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1N
    P 2 P 2
    P 2N P 3
    P P P

  39. chance22 says:

    4H, made
    Opening lead: East spade

    BIDDING
    I chose 1NT over an uninspiring 5-card minor. So far, all the posters who opened 1NT had transfers turned on, and in that scenario Partner’s 2D sign-off went through, the hand playing in 2H.

    Without transfers, I passed Partner’s 2H sign-off. But when West interfered with a 2S bid, to my surprise Partner bid 2NT. (I don’t think I understand the bid, but the hint said it was invitational). I wasn’t willing to let EW have it either: we had a heart fit, a doubleton in EW’s suit, and partner may have a little more than his sign-off bid indicated.

    PLAY
    The club finesse was key, and I thought we were home free when we played Q 5 2 4. Then came J K A and 7. Oh, no! They’ve still got the T vs. our 9. So we went back to diamonds hoping for a miracle, and indeed West discarded his T. (I note this played differently from banksia9’s hand.)

    P.S. I had just been re-listening to a video where Tina says, “I love Tens!” Boy, does that ring true; the T in our hand would have made this a lot easier.

    cc @zoomer2591

    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1N
    P 2 P P
    2 2N 3 4
    P P P

  40. mariagee says:

    @poppingpopcorn – think we did ok what say you? Made 6 – will ahve another go though to see if I can better!

    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 X
    P P P

  41. depe says:

    didnt think could go nt without cover in spades
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 X
    P P P

  42. brigida says:

    1C 1SP2S P
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1
    1 X 2 P
    P P

  43. suejo says:

    I opened 1NT. Partner bid 2D transferring me to 2H. Partner then rebid 2NT ????????? I had tp pass. Came down three !!!!!!! Partner should not have rebid after the transfer. Contract should have been 2H.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1N
    P 2 P 2
    P 2N P P
    P

    • graeme says:

      Mmm, not really, @suejo. North is inviting you to game which is pushy but not silly. He’s also showing 5 card heart suit with that transfer to hearts and the 2NT bid says “stay in notrumps with only 2 hearts but please go back to hearts if you have three or more hearts”. You really should take that 2NT out into 3H or 4H if you’re feeling brave.
      That bidding sequence is quite common and it catches a few people out.
      Hope that helps but please ask if you’re still not sure.

      • suejo says:

        This is not the way we were taught to handle transfer bids. Unless responder was particularly strong in the transfer suit (hearts) the 1NT declarer should play the contract as transfered. In this case = 2H.

  44. sable says:

    For strong No Trump players, this seems a classic 1NT opening. It is o.k. to have a five card suit, and one doubleton. Partners transfer to hearts tells opener that they have at least five cards in the heart suit. Then the 2NT bid says I have 5 cards but only 8-9 points so only bid to game if you have more than 15 points, preferably 17points and at least three hearts. If the responder had 6 cards, they’d go to 3 Hearts with 8-9 points and game with 6 cards and 10 points. Hope that’s clear. Lots of comments on this hand, guess we’ve got more time on the weekend. I had to join in because of the confusion about opening 1NT with a doubleton and then that 2NT bid afterwards. By the way, the hand only supports a 3H contract despite those making 4 Hearts (Game).
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1N
    P 2 P 2
    P 2N P 3
    P P P

  45. jbrown says:

    I loved the lesson Tina.
    Many thanks and happy Easter.

  46. romey78 says:

    @tina- what is the ethical answer to opening 1NT with 15 points if you have arrived at the table and announced weak no trump etc? Are you allowed to mislead opponents in this way?
    Thanks for the video and all the interesting ideas-wonderful site! Happy Easter
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1N
    P 2 P 2
    P P P

  47. Played this hand again today as it came up on Facebook. Did better this morning. Opened 1 nt, ended in 4 hearts which made.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1N
    P 2 P 3
    P 3 P 4
    P P P

  48. delta says:

    1NT 15-17 or 16-18 or 15-18 or 12-14 partnership agreement
    1NT partner 2 no transfer. Can I change options so patner will transfer?

  49. delta says:

    3making
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P P 1N
    P 2 P 2
    P 2N P 3
    P P P

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