Quick summary

Have you got 25 HCP for a 3NT game with your 15-17 balanced partner?

If you too are balanced, then, adding points for extra length (not shortage):

  1. add 15 to your HCP to find out. If yes, bid 3NT
  2. if not, add 17 HCP, and if that's 25 or more, invite to game with 2NT
  3. failing that, give up on NT

If you're unbalanced:

(Advanced players can use Checkback Stayman to find a Major fit)

After a 2NT opener's rebid, forced by our 2-of-a-suit first response


Print cribsheet

Bridge Venue

Example Deal
spade K Q 10 6 2
heart K 10 9 2
diamond 7
club 9 8 2
Example Deal
Dealer: South
Vuln: E-W

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- - - 1C
p 1S p 1NT
p ???

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#5+ <--click the + for notes on relevant Play & Defence methods

«  0063  »

Responder rebids. After opener's rebid of 1NT

Could game be on here? Is it your decision, or your partner's?

Your partner has promised you a balanced hand and 15-17 HCP. (Not 15-16 HCP, unless your partner is either very old, or likes living in the past).

Had your change of suit been at the one-level, or the 2-level?

A one-level change promised 6 HCP minimum, unlimited. So now you just do the arithmetic:

  • if in fact you've got 10CP, then your total team power is 25-27HCP, and assuming you've got no extreme weaknesses in an unbid suit, then a 3NT game-bid should be on;
  • but if you've only got 8HCP, and a 23-25HCP team total, you'll be looking for some shape to make up for the weakness; failing that you can invite your partner to go for game if he's at the top end of his 15-17 HCP range - by bidding 2NT;
  • with 6-7HCP, you'll generally pass (since 25HCP can't be there), but...
  • if your suit was a 6-carder then this means you've got a guaranteed 8-card fit, so you'll re-bid it if you need to get out of team-unstopped-suit-danger resulting from any short unbid suits.

A two-level change of suit from you will have alerted your partner to your 10+ HCP, guaranteeing sufficient HCP for a 3NT game-bid. So a re-bid of NT at the 2 level, not 3, must mean your partner wants to explore an alternative game bid, presumably in a Major.

How could that be ?

Might it arise if he has 3 cards in a hidden Major (Hearts), concealed by his 4-card 1Spade opening bid, and hopes you might have 5 Hearts?

But in that case, you'd have bid them in your first bid. That's because a change by you to a Major at the 2-level also guarantees a 5-card suit, so your knowledgable partner wouldn't need to re-bid NT if he had 3 of them. He could just bid game (4heart). Unless he's trying to get the team an extra 10 points by playing to 4 in NT.

And, of course, if partner had both 4-card Majors, being a wise and experienced player (!) he would have opened 1Heart, so as not to obscure the Heart suit with a 1Spade bid.

The other possibility is that he wants to use the spare bidding space to give you a chance to get out of any dangers, and move to a 6-card suit if you have one.

What if your first bid suit was a 5-card Major?

How can we tell partner about that nice long Spade suit?? - after all, he might easily have 3 of them.

Stayman and Transfers are used after a weak (12-14 HCP) to reveal 4-card and 5-card Majors. And there are some techniques for finding 8-card Major fits after the stronger 1NT opener's re-bid, but beware: - not that many players use them.

For the more accomplished bridg-ers, read the next bit...

Advanced: How to explore a Major fit after opener's 1NT re-bid ?

In brief, use something called "Checkback Stayman": If you'd bid a minor at first, but have a 3-card Major, then you'd like to know if your opening partner's balanced hand contains a 5-card Major, which it sometimes does. So bid 2club to ask her. She'll deny as usual with 2diamond, or bid a Major with a positive answer.

And it could be the other way round. With 9+ points (guaranteeing 24-26 in total), bid 2club if either

  • your 1st bid Major was a 5-carder (she already knows your Major had 4 cards if you'd replied at the one-level),
  • the unbid Major is a 4-carder.

Partner will then bid your 1st bid Major with 3-card support, the unbid one with 4-card support, or Deny with Diamonds if she's got neither.

You can then correct back to 2NT if chooses the wrong one, and she can then re-correct back to the Major is she has both fits.

Note: Seeking a 4-4 "8-card Major" fit is not on the agenda by this late stage, even if opener has two 4-card Majors. That's because your first response would already have bid any 4-card Major, or hearts if you've got both, so any Major fit would already have been found.


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