We addressed 1NT (12-14 balanced) in earlier lessons because:
- the most common patterns are balanced
- 12-14 is the likeliest HCP holding (for other than pre-emptive hands)
- it is a limit bid meaning that control of the auction rests with one partner
- it has well-developed continuations
- it takes space, leaving less room for the opponents to compete
Bids of one of a suit and responses to such bids are unlimited in strength and rather unspecific in shape so the first bid needs careful thought. It’s all about handling whatever partner may throw at us without misleading him too badly. This also a key reason why we open “1NT” if possible so we never mislead partner by bidding it later with a mere 12-14.
We looked at several hands which presented debatable opening bids. The first step with all hands was to count HCP and see if the hand was eligible to open 1NT, rebid 1NT or neither. The synopsis is what should form in your mind when you pick up the hand. And should the synopsis be “balanced with 12-14” think no further: bid “1NT” (but in tempo).
S: A T 8 3; H: 6 2; D: A K 6 5; C: K Q 4.
Synopsis:16 HCP and balanced (the rag-doubleton heart is no discouragement).The plan is to open a suit and rebid NT. Which suit? S & D are biddable.
Against “1D”. If we open 1D, partner may bid 1H and we can no longer show both the S suit and the balanced 15+ hand. “1D” followed by 3 passes gives a lower scoring but not obviously safer contract than 1S. Over 1D, the opponents may have a cheap one-level overcall in H.
Against “1S”. Partner may initially expect a five-card suit (in a weaker hand). If partner responds “1NT” (as he will on all hands failing the rule of 14) we could get too high if we make a try and he had 6 HCP but miss a game if we don’t bid again and he has 9.
Recommendation: on balance bid “1S”.
S: T 8 6 4 3; H: J D: A Q 5 C: K Q J 4.
Synopsis: 13 HCP unbalanced, 5 weak Spades 4 good Clubs. To open “1C” or “1S”.
Against “1S”. If we open “1S” and partner responds “2H” we can only bid “2S” (suggesting 6) on a rubbish 5-card suit or “2NT” showing unremarkable S but lying that the strength is over 15 HCP or “3C” showing the shape but reversing (forcing partner to a choice at the 3 level). If opponents overcall “1C” with “1H” and it comes back to us we can bid “1S” or double.
Against “1C”. If we later bid S we suggest 5C and 4S. Opponents can overcall cheaply in H.
Recommendation: on balance bid “1C”.
S: K Q 4; H: A K 6 5 D: A T 8 3 C: 6 2.
Synopsis: 16 HCP balanced, 2 biddable touching suits, good controls.
Against “1D” none as long as partner knows to show a 4CM so that bidding “1NT” denies one.
Against “1H”: can never mention D (would promise 5H). Partner may anyway assume 5H (as usual).
Recommendation: Open “1D” intending to bid NT as cheaply as possible unless partner bids “1H” when raise it.
S: K J; H: K Q 4 D: K J 7 4 C: Q 9 8 3.
Synopsis: 15 HCP balanced, both minors, no aces
Against “1m”: normal but hand is marginal for rebid of “1NT” and some devalue aceless hands maying this too weak to rebid “1NT”—partner might get overexcited. Partner might respond NT and we would like to protect our tenaces.
Against “1NT”: partner might not get excited enough now and might get distrustful in future
Recommendation: None. Tom’s in a minority of one here in wanting to open “1NT”.
S: A T 8 3; H: K J 4 D: A K 6 5 C: 6 2.
Synopsis: 15 HCP balanced, good D & S suits, good controls.
Against “1S”: nothing, we don’t mind passing if partner responds “1NT”, and bidding “2NT” (losing the D suit) if partner bids at the 2 level.
Against “1D”: little but H values wasted if LHO can overcall 1H and then bidding S suggest unbalanced, 1NT is risky with no trick source and flimsy H when RHO gets the lead in eg C, double suggest support for C too.
Recommendation: dig in with spades.
S: A K 6 5; H: A T 8 3 D: K Q 4 C: 6 2.
Synopsis: 18 HCP, both majors, good controls
Against “1S”: can’t bid H later without implying 5 S so might miss H fit if partner responds 2m
Against “1H”: nothing, this is the textbook bid. Can support S if partner mentions them (as he will with 4). Can bid 3NT if partner names a minor.
Recommendation: Easy, bid “1H”.
S: K 5; H: A Q J 8 D: J 8 6 4 3 C: 3.
Synopsis: 11 HCP unbalanced with 4 good H and 5 weak D
Against “Pass”: if NB now, despite meeting rule of 20 requirements, likely to be frozen out of auction.
Against “1D”: rubbish suit to rebid if partner says eg “1S”
Against “1H”: promises 5+H if have to rebid D, implies 6+ if rebid H, gross lie about strength prevents rebidding NT (NT rebid shows too good to open NT never too weak).
Recommendation: Bid “1D”.
S: K Q; H: A K D: 9 7 5 4 2 C: J 7 6 3.
Synopsis: 13 HCP, unbalanced–2 doubletons
Against “1D”: allows a 1M opposing overcall or over “1M” response have to bid “2C” showing the shape with exactitude but not really describing the hand
Against “1NT”: not quite the right shape
Recommendation: Tom’s agrees with the book (but none of the group) that 1NT is the lesser lie.
S: 7; H: A K 9 8 6 D: Q J T 8 C: J 4 3.
Synopsis: 11 HCP unbalanced
Against “1H”: risk that opponents will compete in Spades and win the battle of the part-scores–the hand does not meet the supplementary Rule of 15 (sum of HCP and length of S suit) for 4th in hand openings.
Against “pass”: pusillanimous except 4th in hand as safe rebid of “2D” showing unbalanced shape and promising 5+H
Recommendation: Open “1H” except 4th in hand when Pass.
S: J 3; H: K 9 8 5 3 D: A Q 2 C: K 9 7.
Synopsis: 13 HCP balanced with weak 5CM
Against “1H”: only rebid will be “2H” on scruffy suit, possible competitive overcall of “1S”
Against “1NT”: risk of losing 5-3 major fit
Recommendation: bid “1NT”