ACBL04 – Notrump:  Bidding                              Ward Trumbull

                                         with/without Conventions                    Dec 4, 2005

                                                                                                                   Page 1 of 8


      Opening bids of 1 or 2 notrump are perhaps the most descriptive bids in bridge.  They pinpoint the texture of the hand both as to High Card Point (HCP) count and to suit distribution.


     Point Count  - Typically the HCP for an opening 1 notrump is 15-17, 16-18 or the range I prefer 15-18.  Two notrump count is fairly standard at 22-24 HCP.  Often partner’s response to a 1 notrump opening bid asks the

opener if the HCP is at the top (17-18) or bottom (15-16).  When you

use 15-17, 16 HCP must be classified as either a bad 15+ or a good 17-.                    The same applies for 17 HCP with the 16-18 range.


      Distribution - There are three suit distributions associated with opening notrump hands.  They are:



                                                 5-3-3-2  (where the 5 card suit is not a



                             NOTE: You don’t open with a notrump bid if your hand

                                         has a void, a singleton or a five card major.


This doesn’t mean you can’t open 1 or 2 notrump with other types of

distributions.  For instance, with a six card minor headed by the AK or

AKQ, you could/should open a notrump with:




      Stoppers   - A suit stopper would be an Ax,  Kx,  Qxx or Jxxx.  You do

                            not have to  have a stopper in all four suits to open 1 or 2

                            notrump.  What you do  need are the HCP and an

                            acceptable distribution.





                ACBL04 – Notrump: Bidding                               Dec 4, 2005

                                      with/without Conventions                       Page 2 of 8



Responses Without Any Conventions


      If your partnership uses none of the standard notrump response conventions, then your response to an opening 1 notrump by partner should be as follows:



           Response                               Comment

         -----------------       --------------------------------------------------------

          2 clubs         or        These are Standard American “Drop Dead” bids.

          2 diamonds  or        The suit bid has 5+ cards and 0-7 HCP.  The

          2 hearts       or         notrump opener should/must pass.

          2 spades  


          2 notrump               The responder has 8-9 HCP and no 5+ card

                                         major.  It asks the notrump bidder to pass if his

                                         HCP is at the bottom (15-16) or bid 3 notrump if

                                         it is at the top (17-18).


          3 clubs        or        The responder has 10+ HCP, a long minor suit

          3 diamonds            (6+ cards) and no desire to play in notrump.

                                        The hand usually has singletons or voids and

                                         may be on the way to a slam.  The opener can’t



          3 hearts      or        The responder has a 5 card major (no more)

          3 spades                and 8+ HCP.  With 3+ cards in that suit, the

                                        opener should bid 4 of that suit. With less than

                                        3 cards in that suit, the opener can pass or bid 3

                                        notrump.  Of course 3 notrump might not make

                                        if the responder has only 8 HCP.


          4 hearts      or        The responder has 6+ cards in that major with

          4 spades                8+ HCP.  The opener should pass.


                ACBL04 – Notrump: Bidding                              Dec 4, 2005

                                     with/without Conventions                          Page 3 of 8


Responses Using Standard American Notrump Conventions


      If you and your partner are agreeable, there are several notrump response conventions that are commonly used.




      Stayman is a notrump bidding convention to see if the partnership has a 4-opposite-4 major suit fit.  The idea is that if there is a fit, the strong hand (notrump opener) will play the hand.  To invoke Stayman after partner’s opening 1 notrump bid, the responder bids 2 clubs.  Note that the responder must have at least 8 HCP.


      To invoke Stayman (via 3 clubs) after partner’s opening 2 notrump bid, the responder should have 3+ HCP.



 HCP     Resp.   Meaning/Asking            Notrump Bidder’s Reply

---------   --------   -------------------------       ----------------------------------

   8+        2 clubs   Responder has 1 or 2       2 diamonds  - NO

                              four card major suits.       2 hearts       - YES (4 hearts)

                             ASKING: Does opener      2 spades      - YES (4 spades)

                             have a four card major?                                    |



                         Notrump Bidder’s Reply   Responder’s Rebid

                         --------------------------------   -------------------------------  

                            2 diamonds    (NO)                With 8-9 HCP  - bid 2 NT

                                                                          With 10+ HCP  - bid 3 NT


                            2 hearts   or   (YES)              If you don’t have 4 cards in

                            2 spades        (YES)              that suit:

                                                                          With 8-9 HCP  - bid 2 NT

                                                                          With 10+ HCP - bid 3 NT


                ACBL04 – Notrump: Bidding                               Dec 4, 2005

                                    with/without Conventions                          Page 4 of 8


Stayman: Notrump Bidder’s Reply – Major Fit Not Found (cont.)



Notrump Bidder                                                                                                                                         

Reply to 2 Clubs  Responder’s Rebid   Notrump Bidder’s Next Bid

----------------------  --------------------------  -------------------------------------

2 hearts/spades       2 notrump (i.e. no fit)    If you have 4 cards in the other


                                                                          Bid 3 of major if 15-16 HCP

                                                                                and distribution points

                                                                          Bid 4 of major if 17-18 HCP

                                                                                and distribution points


                                                                     If you do not have 4 cards in

                                                                     the other major,  

                                                                             Pass with 15-16 HCP

                                                                             Bid 3 NT with 17-18 HCP


                                3 notrump (i.e. no fit)    If you have 4 cards in the other


                                                                             Bid 4 of that major

                                                                     If not:



               Notrump Bidder’s Reply        Responder’s Rebid

               --------------------------------  ----------------------------------------

                 2 hearts/spades                    If you do have 4 cards in that suit,     

                                                              reevaluate the hand adding

                                                              distribution points where void = 3

                                                              singleton = 2 and a doubleton = 1


                                                              With 8-9 combined points

                                                                                      bid 3 of the major.                

                                                              With 10+ combined points

                                                                                      bid 4 of the major

                ACBL04 – Notrump: Bidding                             Dec 4, 2005

                                    with/without Conventions                         Page 5 of 8


Stayman: Notrump Bidder’s Reply – Major Fit Found (continued)



Notrump Bidder                                                                                                                                         

Reply to 2 Clubs  Responder’s Rebid   Notrump Bidder’s Next Bid

----------------------  --------------------------   -----------------------------------

2 of a major             3 of that major (fit)          Reevaluate your hand for

                                                                       distribution points.

                                                                           With 15-16 combined

                                                                                     points pass.

                                                                           With 17-18+ combined

                                                                                   points bid 4 that major


                                4 of that major (fit)         Pass.


Jacoby Transfer


      The purpose of a transfer bid is to have the strong hand (notrump opener) play the hand.  Thus the weak hand (responder) becomes the dummy.  Note that with Stayman the responder must have 8+ HCP; however, you need NO points to make a transfer bid.


      NOTE: When the responder makes a transfer bid of 2 diamonds or 2

                  hearts (explained below), that conventional bid must be

                  immediately alerted by the notrump bidder saying




HCP   Response   Meaning/Demand       Notrump Bidder’s Rebid

-------  --------------   --------------------------    ---------------------------------

None   2 diamonds    Responder has 5+            2 hearts (no questions ask}

                                  hearts (a demand bid)


           2 hearts          Responder has 5+            2 spades (I heard you!)

                                  spades (a demand bid)                                            

                ACBL04 – Notrump: Bidding                              Dec 4, 2005

                                    with/without Conventions                         Page 6 of 8                                                                                                                   


Jacoby Transfer (continued)                                            


      After the transfer bid, the responder has 3 options:


Transfer Bid    NT Bidder’s Reply     Responder’s Rebid

-----------------   --------------------------   ----------------------------------

2 diamonds or   2 of transfer major           0-7 HCP  - pass

   hearts                                                    8-9 HCP  - bid 2 notrump -à|

                                                                 10+ HCP - bid 3 notrump -à|


NOTE: The responder should never bid or rebid his/her long major   |    

              suit,  not at the 2 level, 3 level or 4 level.  You don’t know if    |

              your pair has an 8 card fit.                                                       |



Responder’s   Has NT Bidder Got       Notrump Bidder’s Next Bid

     Rebid         3+ cards in major?              Combined Points

-----------------   -------------------------       -------------------------------------

2 notrump                   YES                           15-16 - bid 3 of major

                                   YES                           17-18 - bid 4 of major

                                    NO                            15-16 - pass

                                    NO                            17-18 - bid 3 notrump


3 notrump                   YES                           Bid 4 of major

                                    NO                            Pass


Minor Suit Transfer


      Jacoby Transfer is a widely used bidding convention.  However, Minor Suit Transfer is not as popular, even though the purpose is the same: namely, to have the notrump opener play the hand.  Again, NO HCP are needed to make this type of transfer.


Note: The minor suit must have at least 6 cards for a transfer to the 3 level.  


                ACBL04 – Notrump: Bidding                             Dec 4, 2005

                                    with/without Conventions                          Page 7 of 8


Minor Suit Transfer (continued)


NOTE: As with Jacoby Transfer, the responder’s transfer bid (2 spades

             or 3 clubs) must be immediately alerted by the notrump opener

             by saying  “TRANSFER”.



HCP   Response     Meaning/Demand     Notrump Bidder’s Rebid

------    -------------  -----------------------------  --------------------------------

0-7       2 spades      Responder has 6+ clubs      3 clubs       (OK, OK, OK)

                                 Drop Dead demand bid


             3 clubs         Responder has 6+ diams    3 diamonds (you win)

                                 Drop Dead demand bid


                             NOTE: The responder must pass partner’s 3 bid.

                                                This is known as “Drop Dead”.


8+         Minor Suit Transfer should not be used.  Instead bid 2 notrump

             with 8-9 HCP or 3 notrump with 10+ HCP.


             NOTE: The only exception is to make a Minor Suit Transfer on

                           the way to a slam in that minor suit.


Texas Transfer


      This is a variation of the Jacoby Transfer.  The differences are:


  1. The responder’s major suit has 6 or more cards.  Thus with

     the notrump bidder’s guaranteed 2 cards in that suit, the

     partnership has an 8+ card major suit fit.


  1. The responder’s combined HCP and distribution points are 8 or more.


     This is known as the 6/6 transfer……. 6+ cards and 6+ HCP.   

                ACBL04 – Notrump: Bidding                             Dec 4, 2005

                                    with/without Conventions                          Page 8 of 8


Texas Transfer (continued)


Reqd HCP  Response    Meaning/Demand          Bidder’s Reply

--------------   --------------   ------------------------------   --------------------

Comb. 8+      4 diamonds    Responder has 6+ hearts.     4 hearts

                                            Demand bid for 4 hearts


                      4 hearts         Responder has 6+ spades.   4 spades

                                            Demand: Bid 4 spades


                      NOTE: Again the “TRANSFER” alert is required.