- 26 -
RESPONDING OVER PARTNER’S 1NT OPENING SUBSEQUENT TO THE OPPONENT’S
A. CIRCUMSTANCE: ‑ Your partner has opened the bidding with 1NT (15‑17 HCP's). Your right‑hand opponent (RHO) has overcalled with a "Take‑out Double" evidencing an equivalent or better hand. How do you offer a response and under what circumstances? When is it desirable to act and when is it not? Which bids are natural and which are artificial? Are transfers still in effect; and lastly, how do you invoke the Stayman Convention looking for a 4‑card Major suit fit if you desire to do so, while at the same time being able to bid Clubs as a natural alternative bid?
Partner has shown (on average) 16 HCP's as has the opponent's overcall which evidences an equivalent or better holding. Thus, the combination of opener plus your RHO is equivalent to approximately 32 HCP's leaving, at most, 8 HCP's available between you and your left‑hand opponent (LHO), the partner to the doubler. Therefore, it is possible, but surely highly unlikely, in all but the most unusually distributed scenarios, that game is possible with your team's combined, at most, 24 HCP's.
The responder must also realize that if he/she does not have the majority of the missing approximate 8 HCP's, then the Doubler's partner does, and Doubler's responder is likely to pass the Take-out Double thereby converting it to a penalty scenario. Responder to the opening 1NT must, therefore, assume a posture that the less he/she has, the more he/she must attempt to save the opener from a probable impending disaster by steering the bidding to any 5‑card suit if it is available. Otherwise he/she must pass. That's the way the cookie crumbles!!!!
(1) ‑ All of the reason's that validate the worthiness for both the Stayman Convention and Transfer scenarios are still fully valid not‑with‑standing the intervening Take‑out Double. Therefore, most players play what is called "FRONT OF CARD" understandings; namely, that:
(a) “2C” = Stayman asking for a 4‑card Major suit.
(b) "2D" = A transfer to Hearts
(c) "2H" = A transfer to Spades
(d) "2S" = A request for a Minor suit preference; namely, a rebid by opener of 3C if his/her Club suit is equal or longer that his/her Diamonds, or "2NT" if opener's Diamonds are longer than his/her Clubs. This third leg of a 3‑way transfer scenario is called "MINOR SUIT STAYMEN".
(e) "2NT" = An unlikely bid, since (1) the 1NT is already doubled, and (2) not enough HCP's exist for an invitation to game and is thus highly unlikely anyway.
- 27 -
(2) Suppose, however, that the responder wishes to play the contract in 2C or 2D. He/she cannot bid 2C to play at 2C (for it will be rightfully construed by opener as Stayman), and cannot bid 2D to play at 2D (for it will be rightfully construed by opener as a transfer to Hearts). Not to worry !!!!!
(a) Responder simply says "REDOUBLE". This is a conventional response which, in this
particular singular scenario of: (1NT Dbl. ReDbl.) requests of opener to "puppet “2C” which can be either passed by responder if Clubs were the intended destination, or else responder will correct to 2D which must be passed by opener. Under no circumstances is this "Redouble" for added bonus points.
Examples: XX XXX XX AXXXXX 1NT Dbl. "ReDbl." P
“2C” P P
XX KX XXXXXXX XX 1NT Dbl. "ReDbl." P
“2C” P 2D
(3) Suppose, however, that most, or all, of the missing 8‑10 HCP's are held within the hand of the partner to the opening 1NT bid, especially if his/her hand is balanced absent a predominance of any particular suit. In that scenario, the responder may elect to simply "PASS", awaiting the required mandated desperation bid of the Doubler's partner. The opening 1NT bidder will naturally pass, allowing the responder to the opening bid of 1NT to "Double" whatever bid player #4 makes in order not to let the doubled 1NT contract to stand.
Example: INT Dbl. P 2B Note: In such instance it is usually best for
P P Dbl. the defense to continue to lead trumps
whenever possible in order to eliminate them from play thereby converting the play of the hand back to NT where the defenses high card
domination will most likely prevail.
Alternatively, if all the points are held within player #4's hand, player #4 may pass trapping the 1NT bidder into a Doubled 1NT non‑makeable contract, especially since 15‑17 HCP's are located behind the opening 1NT bidder, diminishing his values while, at the same time, enhancing the value of the 15‑17 HCP's in the hand of the Doubler who sits behind the opener's 1NT position.
Example: lNT Dbl. P P
In such instances, since the partner of the opener took no defensive action (obviously devoid of any 5‑card suit to go along with his 0‑1 HCP's), the opener is oft times better to bid his/her 5‑card Minor suit if it be present. within his/her 1NT distribution. If not, watch the slaughter.