Tellico Village Duplicate Bridge Club

Tellico is a member of Knoxville Bridge Association


Understanding NT

Opening bids and rebids of 1 NT and 2 NT promise balanced hands and a specific number of points.  Ideally, that range should  be no more than 3 points. 

Opening NT  bids should  also be in keeping with one's style...if your opening bids are strong...13 to 14  and you play a "Standard" Strong-2”  style...your NT opening bids should also be strong...16 to 18.   However,  if you are playing a competitive, lighter opening style...then your 1 NT bids should compliment  that style...with a rebid of 1 NT showing no more than 14 HCP. 

An opening bid of 1 NT does not deny a 5-card Major suit... 

Standard American NT Structure

Competitive NT Structure


Open 1 of a suit...rebid 1 NT


Open 1 of a suit...rebid 1 NT


Open 1 NT


Open 1 NT


Open 1 of a suit...JUMP in NT


Open 1 of a suit...JUMP in NT


Open 2 NT


Open 2 NT


Open 3 NT


Open 2 ¨   Rebid 2 NT




Open 2 ¨.  Rebid 3 NT




Open 3 NT

  Standard American  Responses to NT bids


Pt  Range


2 D , 2 H , 2 S ........(5 card suit)

      0-7    Pts


2 NT

      8-9    Pts


3 NT

     10 +  Pts


3 H , 3S................  (5 Card suit)

     10 +  Pts


4 H , 4S..................(6 Card suit)

     10 +  Pts


4 NT...This is NOT Blackwood...Only Quantitative

15-17    Pts


Optional "EXTRAS"                   * By  Partnership Agreement



2 ¨  Non-forcing  Stayman...Bidding can stop short of game

       8+   Pts

FORCING...(1 Rd Only)

3C  3 D  ...(6+ Card suit)            * By  Partnership Agreement

     8-9    Pts


3C  3 D  ...(6+ Card suit)            * By  Partnership Agreement

      10+  Pts


  On opening 1NT  with a  five-card major..

Most new players are being taught to open 1 NT with a five-card major.  Goren era and earlier players rarely open 1NT with a five-card major.  Standard seems to be a mix of both approaches.  Consider first,  the quality of the suit..if is truly terrible...treat it as a four-card major.  Conventional wisdom advises not opening 1 NT with a five-card major ...unless you also hold 3 cards in the other major...For if partner should  transfer you to the other major and then pass...the final contract will not be an inferior one.

Rebids by NT opener...

Since the Responder is the "Captain" of the hand...The NT opener will usually have no problem following directions...only a few "choices" are open...

                1. Does the contract belong in the major or NT...?  (Opener  checks for the 8-card fit...)
2. After the 2 NT invitation... Stop  there or go to 3 NT...?..Does the opener have 15 or 17.
3. Stayman.(2 Clubs)...Modern style is to bid  “up the line” ...2 H with 4 H and 4 S... 

Rebids by Responder...Since Responder’s main job is to determine level & denomination... 

1.  After a negative 2 D response to Stayman...responder can bid  “Quantitatively”
..i.e.    2NT...3NT...4NT..depends on the HCPs...    

2.  With 8-9 pts and a  5 card suit..responder can use Stayman as 1 Rd force..then rebid their 5 card suit as a game invitation.


AT THE 1 LEVEL...  show the same point count and shape as opening 1 NT bids.  If the opponent opens the bidding  with 1 H...and your overcall is 1 NT....partner will know  your hand contains NT shape and point count....and....of course, 1 or more stoppers in hearts.  No Trump overcalls at the one level do not promise stoppers in all the unbid suits.   IF YOU CANNOT MEET ALL OF THE ABOVE REQUIREMENTS...DO NOT OVERCALL IN NT!   

THE “BALANCING”   1 NT OVERCALL...Experts disagree about the meaning of the 1 NT balancing call.  Some suggest the call shows about 8-12 HCPs,  others...10-14 HCPs, and still others 12-15 HCPs.  No sources that I know of recommend a normal 15-17 or 16-18 1 NT opening point count.  With a normal 1 NT opener the pass out seat...I recommend a double...followed by a bid of some number of  NT.  Partner will usually pass or take out into a long suit with up to 9-10 pts.  With enough points for a “Free bid”  11+ partner will invite game or cue bid.  Mike Lawrence., one of my favorite authors,  in his Complete Book of  Balancing in Contract Bridge, expects 1-2 stoppers in the opponents bid suit and about 11-14 HCPs. 

A JUMP  OVERCALL TO  2NT OR 4NT OR HIGHER...(but not to 3NT).....

“UNUSUAL NT OVERCALLS”   show 5-5 or more extreme distribution in the two lower unbid suits.  (Some pairs play that it always shows the minor suits...but playing it as the two lower unbid suits it a much more common practice...also much safer!)  When this bid is made BUPH...the point range is bi-level.  The bidder either shows a weak, obstructive hand ( 8-11 HCP) or a strong, offensive hand 16+HCPs up.  

A JUMP OVERCALL TO 3NT...(GAMBLING 3 NT)...shows an 8 card or longer minor suit and a hand that would qualify for a preemptive opening of 4C or 4D.   Unless responder has a stopper in the openers suit and thinks 3 NT will “play”...If responder has no stopper...they will bid 4C as a stop bid...if  the “Gambling NT overcaller’s  suit is in fact diamonds... they will “correct” to 3D