When you don't have Openers Suit  

With no major suit fit to bid responder's second priority is bidding 1NT you only need 9 tricks for a notrump game contract whereas you need 11 tricks for a minor suit game contract

You don't have support or a major suit fit

Usually if you do not have support for your partner's suit, you want to see if a NoTrump contract is a suitable place to be. Bidding a new suit at the 1-level shows your partner you have at least 6 HCP.
Keep the bidding as low as you can to leave more room to explore the correct place for your contract. Your choices are usually one of the following.
With a weak hand - 0-9 points
  • Pass with 0-5 points
  • Bid (show) a suit at the 1-level if possible shows 6+ HCP
  • Bid 1NT to show you have 6 - 9 HCP
With a medium hand - 10-12 points
  • If you bid in a suit at the 2-level, you need to have at least 10 TP.
  • With 10+ TP and are not suited to a no trump bid and long suit(s) of your own keep bidding and rebidding that suit
With a strong hand - 13+ points
  • Bid 2NT over your partners 1 in a suit bid to show 13 - 15 HCP and stoppers in all the unbid suits
  • Over your partners 1 level bid 3NT shows 16 - 18 HCP and stoppers in all the unbid suits
  • Make a Jump Shift bid, changing the suit and jumping a level
No Trump bids and suit raises are Limit bids - Limit bids are useful bids as they  show the precise strength and the shape of a hand.

Pre-emptive bids 

Jumping the bidding up to game in partner's suit is pre-emptive and designed to shut out the opponents. Jumping straight up to game level  promises either:
  • 6-9 HCP with either 4 trumps & a void (valuable for cross trumping)
  • OR 5 trumps & a singleton (valuable for cross trumping).

Exercise: Partner opens 1 -   with the hand below what is your bid?

Your Hand
  • J 8 5
  • K Q
  • 7 4 2
  • 9 8 7 6 2

Answer: You should bid 1NT. You know have no major fit because you only have 2 heart and 3 spade suit cards. You have 6 HCP and 3-2-3-5 distribution (usually written as 5,3,3,2). When you bid 1NT showing 6-9 HCP your partner will know that its unlikely that you will have an honor card in every suit.

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