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1NT Overcall

When the opponents open one of a suit and you overcall 1NT, you show a balanced hand with the strength of a strong 1NT. The normal range for a 1NT opening is 12-14 Acol or 15-17 Standard American. The overcall can be stronger up to 18 points

The opposition have opened – what can I bid?

The Direct 1NT Overcall

A direct overcall of 1NT is similar to an opening bid of 1NT: One small difference is that the upper limit is a little higher, 18 points. That’s because it’s more dangerous to overcall 1NT than to open 1NT. Our left-hand opponent is in a better position to make a penalty double if the auction belongs to their side. The opening bid has both shown the opposition has points and given an indication of the best opening lead. So we’d like a little extra points to bid. The other difference from the 1NT opening bid is that we need one or more stoppers—high cards and length—in their suit(s).
This is because our left-hand opponent now has a good idea what to lead, especially if the opening bid is in a major, promising five or more cards

  • A balanced hand
  • 15- 18 HCP
  • Stoppers in opposition suit

1NT in the Balancing Position

When the opponent on the left opens the bidding and the next two players have passed, we are in the balancing position. If we pass, the auction is over. In this position, it’s usual to compete with 3 points—less than you would in the direct position.
A 1NT ibid n the balancing position shows 12 -15 points. When in the balancing position you can overcall 1NT with less points than if you were in the direct position.
With a hand unsuitable for a suit overcall or a takeout double you should make a balancing 1NT bid, hoping that partner will have some points since the left hand opponent did not open strong and the right hand opponent didn’t have enough points to reply.
With a stronger hand in the balancing position start bidding with a takeout double and then go to No Trumps

  • A balanced hand
  • 12 – 15 HCP
  • Stoppers in opposition suit