Spade Heart Bytown Bridge Club Diamond Club
Bytown Bridge Club
Mar 29, 2017 Bidding Over Their 1NT



When your opponent opens 1NT, (s)he usually has a hand with 50-70% more points than the average allotment of 10 HCP. This makes competing more challenging, especially in direct position. But if you have a hand such as:

x  KQT65  x  QJTxxx, or

AQTxxx  x  xx  QTxx, or

KQJxxxx  x  Qxxx xx, or

x  xx  AKJxxxx  xxx

it may be very profitable to compete even though you have only 8HCP. If you have a fit, you might make a partial in one of your suits, or go down less than your opponents can make in their best contract (game or slam). Also disrupting the bidding may make it harder for your opponents to determine their best contract.

If you can make it difficult for your opponents with only 8HCP, what can happen if you have 12 or even 14HCP with hands such as:

KJTxx  AJTx  KQx x, or

QJTxx  KQxx  Axx   x, or

AJTx    KQxxxx  Kx  x, or

AJTxxx  x  Ax  KJxx, or

AQxxxx  -  KQxxxx  xx

What you need is a method to describe your hand sufficiently so your partner can figure out your type of hand and decide whether or not you have a fit. HCP is not the issue, shape can nullify the effect of many of your opponent’s points.

If you have a single suited hand such as:  x  xx  KQJTxxx  QJT, describing it is not a problem and you may have a good sacrifice even if your partner has a Yarborough (in fact, the weaker your partner, the higher you can bid, especially at favourable vulnerability).

If you have a 2-suited hand, you need a method to describe it at a low level to allow partner to decide what to do with the least amount of danger of a serious penalty. Over the years several conventions have been designed to show various distributions:


After a 1NT opening:

2C shows a one suited hand

2D shows both majors

2H shows hearts and a minor

2S shows spades and a minor

2NT shows both minors, and

Double shows a hand of equal or greater value.



2C show clubs and a higher suit

2D shows diamonds and a higher suit

2H shows both majors

2S shows spades

2NT shows both minors



Double shows a one-suited hand (partner relays to 2C & doubler passes or bids his suit)

2C shows clubs and hearts

2D shows diamonds and hearts

2H shows both majors

2S shows spades and a minor

2NT shows both minors



Landy can be described as Stayman for the opponents. A bid of 2C shows a hand with at least 4 of each major and asks partner to bid his better fit. Landy has largely been superceded by other conventions. Those who still use it have usually added 2D to show both minors.

CRASH (Colour, Rank and Shape)

2C shows suits of the same colour (clubs&spades or diamonds & hearts)

2D shows suits of the same rank (both minors or both majors)

2H shows suits of the same shape (i.e round (clubs & hearts) or pointed (diamonds & spades)

2S shows spades


Theoreticians have come up with these various conventions to overcome the difficulty of competing against the 1NT opening. While most 1NT bids are in the 15-17 HCP range. Some partnerships  use other ranges such as 13-15 or even 10-12. In these cases it is even more important to have a partnership understanding to describe one’s hand. The choice of convention is really a matter of partnership preference. In today’s club bridge environment Cappelletti and DONT seem to be the most common ones in use.

(The bidding on the boards below assumes Cappelletti)

Bd 1 (no one vul)

AQ, AJ32, KQ, QJT93

JT9832, K, JT97656

K, 875, A843, A6542

7654, QT964, 2, K87

Bidding:  1NT  2S  if 3NT then 4S  ?

                                    If 3C then pass  ?

NS can make 9 or 10 tricks in 3NT, 4S* should be down only 1 or 2 tricks. If the contract is 3C, the overcall has succeeded in stopping a makeable game contract.

Bd 2 (NS vul)

AQ2, J87, 96, AKQ42

5, KQT65, QJT732, 5

KT98, 943, K4, JT98

J7643, A2, A86, 763

Bidding: 1NT  2H  P  2NT (which minor?)/3C (pass or correct)  * (penalty or takeout?)  3D  P/3S/4C  (Whichever bid S makes is a losing option).

Bd 3 (EW vul)

AJT6, KQ8653, K7, 8

954, A, J863, 97653

Q873, T97, 542, A42

K2, J42, AQT9, KQJT

Bidding: 1NT  2D  P  2S  3C  3H (shows 6)  4C  4H


Bd 4 (All vul)

A632, 7, 7, AKQ9876

T987, AT98, KQJ, 43

54, 65432, 65432, 5


Bidding:  1NT  2S  3NT  P  P  P

Opening lead: 5S,  result -4