Responding to Partner's 1NT Opening Bid


Simple arithmetic will almost always tell you how high you should place the contract when your partner opens 1NT. If partner opens 1NT (15-17 pts.) and you hold:

Old-style Goren players use 16-18 pts. for their 1NT opening. If you play this range, subtract one point from the above responding guidelines.

When evaluating your response,  a hand with a long suits should be valued "up":
    Add 1 pt. to your high-card total if you hold a good suit of 5+ cards.
    Add in your distribution points if you hold a 6+-card major.


Standard American Responses to 1NT


The Stayman Convention -- 2C to ask for a major

This convention allows you to find the important 4-4 major suit fit after your partner opens 1NT. To use this bid, responder must have:

  1. At least 8 pts. AND

  2. At least one 4-card major suit.

With these hands, always bid 2C to ask the 1NT opener if he has a 4-card major. Opener will reply by bidding a major suit if he has 4-card length in it (if he has two 4-card majors, he'll bid 2H, the cheaper suit, to keep the auction low). If opener does not have a 4-card major, he'll bid 2D.

If the 1NT opener bids your 4-card major:

If the 1NT opener bids a major you don't have (the auction goes 1NT - 2C - 2H, and you hold 4 spades):

If the 1NT opener bids 2D (denying a major):

Another use of Stayman:

If you don't play Jacoby transfers, Stayman can also be used to start the description of an invitational hand (7-8 pts.) with a 5-card major -- a hand such as  K8762   74   A63   J104

To show this type of hand, you start with 2C Stayman. If partner bids 2S (showing a 4-card suit), you've found a 9-card trump fit, and you should raise directly to 4S. If partner answers Stayman with 2D or 2H, you'll bid 2S to show a "real" suit and invite game.


Copyright   Karen Walker