Your partner has opened the bidding with a bid of 1NT.
Each bid in a game of bridge aims to tell your partner something about your hand.
What does your partner’s opening bid tell you about their hand?
It tells you that they have 12-14 points and a balanced hand and that they don’t have a 5 card major.
Now you have to decide on your responding bid, which aims to tell partner something about your hand
Responding to Partner’s Opening Bid of 1NT
The first thing to decide is whether or not you have enough points between you to make game in No Trumps. Game in No Trumps means a bid of 3NT. If you bid for and make your game, you receive a bonus of 300 points. (See lesson 12 on scoring)
To bid for game you need to know that you hold at least 25 points between you. If you don’t have enough points, then you need to keep the bidding low.
Responding to a bid of 1NT with a balanced hand.
If you also hold a balanced hand, then bid according to the number of points in your hand, as follows:
With 0 – 10 points
Pass. The maximum number of points your partner holds is 14, so you don’t have the required 25 points between you.
Bid 2NT. This is an invitational bid, telling your partner to rebid if they hold 14 points. Between you, you hold the necessary 25 points to bid for game.
Bid 3NT. This is known as a “Sign Off” bid and tells your partner not to bid again. Between you hold at least 25 points and so can bid straight for game.
You don’t have enough points to bid for a slam – you can read more about slam bidding here.
Responding to a bid 1NT with an unbalanced hand (Or a balanced hand with a five
When your longest suit is a major suit:
With 0 – 10 points AND a 5+ major suit
Bid 2 of the major suit. (2 hearts or 2 spades)
You know that you don’t have enough points for game, but with a 5 card major it is better to play the game in a suit contract. This is a sign off bid and your partner shouldn’t bid again.
With 11 – 18 points AND a 5 card major
Bid 3 of the major suit. This is a “forcing” bid asking your partner to bid for game. If they hold 3 or 4 cards in your suit they should bid 4 of the suit. If they hold only 2 cards in the suit they should bid 3 NT
With 11 – 18 points AND a 6+ card major
You can bid directly for game. You know you have an 8 card fit (partner cannot have fewer than 2 cards in any suit if they have made a bid of 1NT). Bid 4 hearts of 4 spades. This is also a sign off bid. There is no need for your partner to bid again.
When your longest suit is a minor suit:
With 0 – 10 points AND a 5+ minor suit
- If the suit is diamonds – bid 2 diamonds
- If the suit is clubs – PASS (2clubs is a special bid [Stayman] and has a different meaning)
This tells your partner you have a weak hand and they should pass
With 11 – 12 points AND a 5+ card minor
Bid 2NT. This is an invitational bid. It tells your partner to bid for game (3NT) if they hold 14 points. Otherwise they should pass.
With 13 – 18 points AND a 5+ card minor
Bid 3NT. You know you have enough points for game and it is better to play in No Trumps if your longest suit is a minor.
You can learn more and practice responding to an opening bid of 1NT if you join No Fear Bridge. Take your two weeks’ trial membership right now – just click here.