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Partner opens 1NT, 2NT or 3NT

1NT in Acol is often a very difficult place to play, the opposition usually have more points than you. So, when your partner opens 1NT you must think about the difficulty s/he will be in if you leave them to play there. If you have a four card Major suit and 11+ HCP

A quick overview of responses

Negative Responses to Partner’s 1NT opening bid

Opening BidNegative ReplyPointsMeaning of Responder Bid
1NTPass0-7Game is out of reach and you have no five card suit to bid
1NT2C8+Stayman, promising a 4+ card major asking partner
to bid their 4 card major (2H or 2S) if they have one, otherwise rebid 2D (can have as few as 8 HCP for this bid)
1NT2D, 2H or 2S0-9are all sign off bids – promising five cards in the bid suit with only minimum points.

Negative Responses to Partner’s 2NT opening bid

Opening BidResponders Negative ReplyPointsMeaning of Responder Bid
2NTPass0-2Game is out of reach and you have no five card suit to bid
2NT3C0-3Stayman, promising a 4+ card major asking partner to bid their 4 card major (3H or 3S) if they have one
2NT3D/3H/3S0-2sign off bids – promising five cards in the bid suit with only minimum points. Opener must pass.

Negative Responses to Partner’s 3NT opening bid

Opening BidResponders Negative ReplyPointsMeaning of Responder Bid
3NTPass0-7no five card suit to bid and less than 8 HCP for a slam
3NT5D, 4H or 4S0-7are all sign off bids – promising five cards in the bid suit with only minimum points. Opener must pass.

Exercise: Your partner opens 1 NT, what should you bid?

Your Hand

  • ♠A 3
  • ♥J 10 6
  • ♦6 4 3 2
  • ♣A Q J 5

Answer: Your bid is 2 NT – your 12 HCP added to Partners minimum of 12 HCP mean you are just one point short of game. Partner will bid 3NT if they have 13-14 HCP