Mike's Advice


Some players have asked if you can ever bid 1NT when you have a game-going hand.
There are a few sequences and I am going to show in this article and a later article.
Take the two sequences below. Your partner made a forcing 1NT bid and then jumped to game in your major. What kind of hand do you think he might have?

Auction 1

1♠   1NT
2♣   4♠
It is clear that partner has points for game. Why might he bid this way instead of making a two-over-one bid first?
Given that your partner is trying to make a descriptive bid, he rates to have something like this hand.
♠ Q J 8
8 7 6 4
K 9 8
♣ A Q J
Why is this hand appropriate for this bidding
He has a hand with game points.
He does not have anything meaningful to bid on the first round.
He does not have a hand that is good enough to think about a slam.
Note that a 2NT bid is not available if you are playing Jacoby 2NT bids. If you use this convention, you must have four card support.
The reason he bids 1NT and then 4♠ is that he wants to show a hand of these approximate values. If he were to bid 2♣, for instance, he would never be able to convince opener that he has only three clubs and a balanced hand.
Here is another hand that your partner might have.
♠ K 9 4
5 4
K 5 4
♣ A J 10 7 5
Your partner probably intended to show a limit raise with three card support when he bid 1NT. When opener bid 2♣, responder fell in love with his super club fit and felt that 3♠ would result in some missed games.
There is no danger that this sequence will mislead opener because the jump to game is defined as a hand with interest in game and no interest in a slam. Because opener rebid 2♣, you know he does not have lots of extras, so whatever he has he will pass 4♠.

Auction 2

1♠   1NT
2♠   4♠
Auction two is different from the auction one. In auction one you expect your partner has only five spades. In auction two you know he has six or seven spades.
Your jumps to game will look like one of these hands.
♠ K Q J
5 4
Q J 7 4
♣ Q J 6 3
This hand has opening bid values, if you are not fussy and count fast. You do not mind bidding game and taking your chances but you do not want to get higher than 4♠ if your partner has a minimum. Hence, the 1NT response and then jump to game.
On this hand you have learned that your partner has six spades, which is a modest comfort to you.
♠ Q J
7 5 4 2
♣ Q 8 6 5 4
You might choose to bid 4♠ with this. At the least you should raise to 3♠. You know your partner has six spades, which means your Q-J is actually pretty good support. You have two diamond winners and a possible diamond ruff coming so your hand offers a lot.

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