The 1NT Response

 

LESSON NOTES

The 1NT Response

In Standard, the 1NT response shows a poor hand with 6 - 9 points. It's not forcing, denies a fit for partner, and is not strong enough to show its own suit at the next level. In 2/1, when a major suit is opened (1♥/1♠), the 1NT response may be a little stronger than 6 - 9 (minimum), because it needs to deal with the 10 - 11 (medium) hands. 

It's good to have a few more points up your sleeve for the 1NT response, mainly because playing 1NT contracts is not easy. Why? Because there's no fit for opener's first suit, and you wouldn't be only in 1NT if you had plenty of points; you'd be in game. Having an extra point or two will help. The defenders will have strength too. 

If partner, opener, started with 1♣ or 1♦, a 1NT response is the same as always - it would deny a four+ card major, and would also deny a fit for partner's suit. If responder did hold a four card major, they would bid it in preference to 1NT.
Also, if partner opened 1♥ and responder bids 1NT, they won't have four spades, because they would have bid 1♠ before bidding 1NT. 

It's important to agree that the 1NT response is not necessarily balanced either. 1NT by responder is simply bidding code to say you don't have a good hand, but you did have enough to respond. Many times the 1NT response could look like this after the bidding went 1♥ p 1NT
♠ 1065
♥ K10
♦ AJ96
♣J1096

BUT it could also look like this too: 1♥ p 1NT
♠ 10
♥ Q10
♦ AJ96452
♣1098

If responder has two-card support for opener, and the bidding goes something like 1♥ p 1NT p 2♦, it's best to bid 2♥ and play in the 5-2 fit if you have 6 - 9. Your hand might be: 
♠ 1043
♥ Q10
♦ AJ9
♣109873

If you hold 10 - 11 (or a bad 12) points and the better 1NT hand, only now may you rebid no trumps. e.g. 1♥ p 1NT p 2♦ p 2NT. 
You hand would be something like this:
♠ K43
♥ Q10
♦ AJ9
♣J10987

If responder has their own long suit, and starts with 1NT, show your suit again to confirm six+ cards. If you hold the 10 - 11 (or a bad 12) points, jump a level eg.1♠ p 1NT p 2♣ p 2♥ (6-9)
♠ K4
♥ QJ10987
♦ 94
♣ J109

OR 1♠ p 1NT p 2♣ p 3♥ (10 - 11)
♠ K4
♥ KQJ1098
♦ 94
♣ J109


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