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12-14 pt NT 2/1 ACBL

#1 User is offline   dickiegera 

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Posted 2011-July-06, 14:10

I am considering playing 12-14 pt NT opening and have tried it a couple of times

Question:

Holding 15-17 pts I know that I open 1 of something then bid 1NT over partners bid. Good enough

What if I open 1 of something and partner bids 1NT.
What does 2NT by me show?

Or

How do I now show 15-17 NT or 18-19 NT?

Thank you
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#2 User is offline   kenrexford 

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Posted 2011-July-06, 14:45

If you open one of a major and partner bids 1NT forcing, you bid normally. Partner will know that you either have an unbalanced hand or extras (15+) if balanced. But, this creates some problem. Your 2 rebid, for example, might be an ugly unbalanced hand (e.g., xxx AKxxx Axxx x) up to a fairly good balanced hand (maybe 16-count), which creates a perhaps 10-16 range in HCP, the critical value for notrump contracts. This same concern does not really exist for strong 1NT players because the unbalanced hands in the 15-17 range are worth so much more due to the unbalanced nature of the hand that often these result in jumps or Gazilli or such, which is not available for the balanced hands as well.

A similar problem exists for 1 sequences.

For 1 sequences, 1NT as 8-11 solves a world of hurt (1 being "waiting" if super weak).

Thus, IMO, the weak notrump does not fit well into a 2/1 GF structure. There might be messy solutions.
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#3 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2011-July-06, 14:50

(1) Depending on your willingness to open 1nt on all 5-card majors in range or not, you might want to treat the auction 1-1-1nt differently from 1m-1x-1nt. K-S plays the first sequence as 12-14 still, Kaplan not being a fan of opening 1nt with 5 cd majors. Acol on the other hand plays both as 15-17.

(2) If partner bids 1nt, arguably 2nt should show 18-19. You probably want to limit your 1m-1nt response to about 5-8 pts, so that a 15-17 nt can pass comfortably without missing game too often. If the 1nt response can be 9 or 10, this gets awkward. With 9+, bid other minor, or make an inverted raise.
After 1M-1nt, opener can bid 2nt with 18-19, 2m then 2nt over partner's preference with 16+-17.

Also of course with 15-17 you don't always bid NT; sometimes you have support for partner's major and will raise. There are differing approaches here also, K-S uses a heavy single raise, 1m-1M-2M can be 15-17 balanced, or 12+ unbalanced, which makes the range heavy and somewhat wide, and the jump raise rather strong and 18-19. Alternately you can jump raise a bit more freely, and lower the ceiling of the 2M bid.
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#4 User is offline   dickiegera 

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Posted 2011-July-06, 15:21

View Postkenrexford, on 2011-July-06, 14:45, said:

If you open one of a major and partner bids 1NT forcing, you bid normally. Partner will know that you either have an unbalanced hand or extras (15+) if balanced. But, this creates some problem. Your 2 rebid, for example, might be an ugly unbalanced hand (e.g., xxx AKxxx Axxx x) up to a fairly good balanced hand (maybe 16-count), which creates a perhaps 10-16 range in HCP, the critical value for notrump contracts. This same concern does not really exist for strong 1NT players because the unbalanced hands in the 15-17 range are worth so much more due to the unbalanced nature of the hand that often these result in jumps or Gazilli or such, which is not available for the balanced hands as well.

A similar problem exists for 1 sequences.

For 1 sequences, 1NT as 8-11 solves a world of hurt (1 being "waiting" if super weak).

Thus, IMO, the weak notrump does not fit well into a 2/1 GF structure. There might be messy solutions.


I am starting to believe that playing 12-14 pt NT and 5 card majors are not compatible.
If I am wrong explain how they might work
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#5 User is offline   SimonFa 

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Posted 2011-July-06, 15:24

Having just moved from playing 15-17NT to 12-14NT (regular partner moved and now playing more Acol with pick-up partners) my first advice is don't.

If you do I would advise to you make sure you have your 1NT - X escapes sorted out as you can get caught more often. Exit transfers or Houdini seem to be the most popular.
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#6 User is offline   dickiegera 

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Posted 2011-July-06, 15:25

Sorry
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#7 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2011-July-06, 16:05

View Postdickiegera, on 2011-July-06, 15:21, said:

I am starting to believe that playing 12-14 pt NT and 5 card majors are not compatible.
If I am wrong explain how they might work


First explain to me why you think they are not compatible, then I can perhaps point out solutions.
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#8 User is offline   Gerben42 

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Posted 2011-July-06, 16:13

I think 12-14 NT and 5-card majors are a strong combination. The reason is that in this case, a 1m opening bid either shows 15+ or a real suit (5 cards or 4441). This is a powerful inference.

In older threads, Fred has made some great posts on this topic. Essential for playing the weak NT is that you have the state of mind that if you open 1NT, you feel that you solve a lot of problems for partner and create many for the opponents. This is a truth that cannot be avoided, and it is a trade-off against situations where you have a rebid problem when holding a strong NT and the rare hands where 1NT doubled leads to a bad result.
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#9 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2011-July-06, 16:15

View PostStephen Tu, on 2011-July-06, 14:50, said:

(2) If partner bids 1nt, arguably 2nt should show 18-19. You probably want to limit your 1m-1nt response to about 5-8 pts, so that a 15-17 nt can pass comfortably without missing game too often. If the 1nt response can be 9 or 10, this gets awkward. With 9+, bid other minor, or make an inverted raise.


The problem is that the OP wants to play 2/1 GF, so he would need to include lots of stronger hands in responder's 1NT. I don't think that weak NT and 2/1 GF can work, really.

View Postdickiegera, on 2011-July-06, 15:21, said:

I am starting to believe that playing 12-14 pt NT and 5 card majors are not compatible.
If I am wrong explain how they might work


Weak NT and 5-card majors is by far my favourite system. I can also try to explain if you tell what your problems are.

View PostSimonFa, on 2011-July-06, 15:24, said:

Having just moved from playing 15-17NT to 12-14NT (regular partner moved and now playing more Acol with pick-up partners) my first advice is don't.

If you do I would advise to you make sure you have your 1NT - X escapes sorted out as you can get caught more often. Exit transfers or Houdini seem to be the most popular.


I just play strong NT in 3rd, at teams, with some partners. This should be enough -- to be honest, I have just started doing this, and didn't really have any problems before. You would be amazed at how often 4th hand rescues you.
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#10 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2011-July-06, 16:49

It is problematic to play natural responses to your 1 opening unless you are happy to open 1NT with all 4=4=4=1 hands in range and also all (43)=5=1 where the diamond suit is not great. That is what I would do but as I understand it you can't play that in GCC events. You could then open those hands 2.

The problem is that responder, holding a 9-10 HCP 3=3=2=5, or 3=3=1=6 with mediocre clubs, can't bid 1NT (opener would pass with a balanced 16). So he bids 2 and now opener will have to rebid 2 with any minimum (at least if he doesn't have club support). If this is forcing then you will get too high, if it is nonforcing you will sometimes play a silly 2 contract.

The same problem exists in a strong nt system when opener has the same shape but 15-16 points, then you probably underbid with 15 (pass a 1NT response) and overbid with 16 (reverse or bid 2NT). But we don't worry too much about is as at least the balanced hands are taken care of.

What you can also do is opening all 15-16 balanced hands 1. Then you can play the same responses to 1 as you would if you were playing strong notrump.
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#11 User is offline   nigel_k 

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Posted 2011-July-06, 17:08

I think 2/1 GF with a weak notrump is fine.

You can't really play 1-2 as GF because of the inability to respond with a heavy 1NT, but this only affects a small percentage of hands is nowhere near enough reason to declare the whole structure fatally flawed. And there is a similar problem playing a strong NT if you open 1 with something like Kxx AQxx AQxxx x and partner responds 1NT.

The other objections I don't understand. Maybe people can be more specific.
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#12 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2011-July-06, 17:12

View PostVampyr, on 2011-July-06, 16:15, said:

The problem is that the OP wants to play 2/1 GF, so he would need to include lots of stronger hands in responder's 1NT. I don't think that weak NT and 2/1 GF can work, really.


Tell that to Martel-Stansby?

When the opening is 1M, forcing NT is not so much a problem because you have 2M available to bail out in the 5-2 fit. With the upper end of the strong NT, you can bid 2m, then 2nt if given a chance; with lower end you can pass the preference and be in a playable contract. Even with strong NTers, there are groups of people (e.g. most French?) that simply don't open 1nt with a 5 cd major, they are in the same spot as a weak notrumper who simply can't open 1nt due to being out of range. I fail to see why this "can't work".

When the opening bid is 1d, then you have more issues, since you don't have a forcing NT available, and you don't really want to put good 9-10 into 1nt. But this can be handled by bidding 2c/2d slightly lighter than in a strong NT system (9+). If you simply must have 1d-2c GF for some reason (not a requirement for "2/1", many people treat 1d-2c as a special case), then you can put inv NT responses somewhere else (Martel-Stansby put them in a multi-way 2H response, you could also use 2nt). Opposite a min distributional hand, this will sometimes lead to a slightly suboptimal 2nt/3c/3d contract, where strong notrumpers might have bought it cheaply with a 1nt response. But a lot of these situations, the opps have a major, and compete, so these issues don't come into play. My opps bid a lot, I can't remember the last system fix I had from this issue. My system fixes when playing wk nt mainly come from opening 1nt and missing the 4-4 M fit, or from opening 1m with the strong NT, and the opps get in cheaply to either win the partscore or get the killer lead-direct in, when they would have kept quiet over a 1nt opening.
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#13 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2011-July-06, 17:15

View Posthelene_t, on 2011-July-06, 16:49, said:

What you can also do is opening all 15-16 balanced hands 1. Then you can play the same responses to 1 as you would if you were playing strong notrump.


Or don't play 1 - 2 as game forcing.

Oops I see this was mentioned while I had the response window open and idle.
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#14 User is offline   MickyB 

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Posted 2011-July-06, 18:57

View PostGerben42, on 2011-July-06, 16:13, said:

I think 12-14 NT and 5-card majors are a strong combination. The reason is that in this case, a 1m opening bid either shows 15+ or a real suit (5 cards or 4441). This is a powerful inference.

In older threads, Fred has made some great posts on this topic. Essential for playing the weak NT is that you have the state of mind that if you open 1NT, you feel that you solve a lot of problems for partner and create many for the opponents. This is a truth that cannot be avoided, and it is a trade-off against situations where you have a rebid problem when holding a strong NT and the rare hands where 1NT doubled leads to a bad result.


My recollection of Fred's posts on this topic is that, having played weak NT for a while, he now much prefers strong NT, as it is difficult to sort out the 15-17 balanced hands in competitive auctions having opened a suit.

It is perfectly playable to play game-forcing two-over-ones in this structure. 1M:1N, 2C should be rebid on 15-17 balanced, even with a doubleton club, and responder's 2D rebid now should be artificial. Assuming you are opening 1D on some balanced hands with diamond length, a 2C response should merely show the values for game opposite 15-16 balanced. 1D:2C, 2N should show 15-19 balanced, GF.
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#15 User is offline   dickiegera 

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Posted 2011-July-06, 18:58

View PostStephen Tu, on 2011-July-06, 16:05, said:

First explain to me why you think they are not compatible, then I can perhaps point out solutions.


16pts Ax,KQJxx,QJx,Kxx

Playing 15-17NT I open 1NT
Playing 12-14NT I open 1Heart and if partner bids 1NT Forcing how do I ever show my 16pts?

OR If I open 1 Heart and partner bid 1 Spade what do I Bid?

Thank you
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#16 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2011-July-06, 19:33

View Postdickiegera, on 2011-July-06, 18:58, said:

16pts Ax,KQJxx,QJx,Kxx

Playing 15-17NT I open 1NT
Playing 12-14NT I open 1Heart and if partner bids 1NT Forcing how do I ever show my 16pts?

OR If I open 1 Heart and partner bid 1 Spade what do I Bid?


This was already answered above, if you read more carefully.
You rebid 2c. Partner will rather rarely pass this, as this is a wide ranging bid 12-18 no matter what your opening NT range is when not playing limited opening system. When he does pass, game is unlikely, and 2c may well be a reasonable spot, partner should often have 5+ clubs. If he has only 4 clubs and a stiff heart, this may not be a great spot on this hand compared to 1nt, but sometimes you can still scramble it home.

Way more often partner will preference to 2h, over which you can then bid 2nt, showing a good 16-17. With a worse hand, 15 only, you can just pass 2h, and probably not miss game since partner has at most 9. There are always some hands at the borders where playing wknt vs. strong leaves you at different levels/strains, 1nt vs. 2nt, 1nt vs. 2M. Inevitably swings will be lost (and some gained) when you play anti-field, holding the strong nt hand. That's the price you pay for being able to preempt more often the weak nt.

If partner bids 2d, with this collection I'd be more inclined to bid 3d than 2nt.
If partner invites of course you have an easy game bid next round.

After 1h-1s, you can follow the same strategy, rebidding 2c, if playing K-S style (with 1nt=12-14), or you can bid 1nt showing 15-17 if playing more Acol style.
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#17 User is offline   Flem72 

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Posted 2011-July-07, 11:42

I learned to play bridge from the K-S book. I am strongly biased toward WNT, especially at pairs; I have gone over to Edgar's "chicken WNT" at teams. IMHO, the gains HEAVILY outweigh the losses. To address some issues with WNT in a 2/1 context.

--Don't forget that K-S is 2/1GF for all 1M-2m auctions (I like the "3 times rebid" exception). It is a short hop to full-on 2/1GF, and IME you can profitably use whatever major structures you might otherwise favor. I think it is important, however, that you adopt O's 2M rebid as "minimum, not claiming 6" so that 2N or 3X claims extras. I've never been badly dinged by that 16-17 HCP (non)problem over a 1NTF response even playing 'normal' 1NTF (I think this is why original K-S consistently treats "invitational" as 9-bad 12, rather than 10-bad 12) and Gazilli-like stuff helps immensely.

--K-S minor structures are a huge improvement over 'standard' treatments; I think Norman Kay got much the better of Peter Pender in their TBW debate over the 1m-1M/3m jump rebid. That said, the 1m-1N response, showing 5-8, has always bugged me, and using 1C-1D or 1m-1M as "ALERT: could be 3 cards" will right-side this auction with almost zero downside: If partner happens to bid 2M, 15-17 support, you have likely found a very good spot. It helps to play Checkback over all NT rebids, so that 1m-1X/1M is always unbalanced. I like 1m-1H/1S and 1D-1M/2C to be forcing one round so that all jumps are min-spls to distinguish HCP from distributional raises.

--1D-2C in a WNT2/1 context seems to be kind of scary for many SNT players. One solution is to play 1m-1N = 9-11, 1m-2N = 12-14 or 18-19 and 1m-3N = "picture" 15-17. Now, all balanced or semi-balanced 9-11 hands with clubs respond 1N, which means that after 1D-2C, responder holds either 12+ with 6+ (can be treated as a NT response, depending) or unbalanced 9+ HCP WITH Cs AND D SUPPORT (since R can not hold a 4-card M).

--It seems neccesary to play 2D as some form of mini-Roman, which is in my view unfortunate, since I'd much rather play 2D as some form of Mexican tht includes 20-21 balanced and 2N = min 5-5 in the minors (this adds substance to 1D-1M/2C-2X/3C or 4C and distinguishes 1D-1M/3C as a 5-4). Ce la vie.

--You need to be very well versed in fome form of runout over Their double of Your WNT--most SNTers would probably be surprised that I have gotten very good results if allowed to play in my 4-3, 2-level contract.

I'm sure there are many other issues hanging there for those unfamiliar with WNT, but this seems to spell out the major structure tweaks.

Regards and Happy Trails,

Scott Needham
Boulder, Colorado, USA

As usual, forgot something: 1D-3C = inv, 6+ and 1D-2C can show a 5+C-4M with opening values.

This post has been edited by Flem72: 2011-July-07, 13:26

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#18 User is offline   zenko 

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Posted 2011-July-07, 12:30

Playing wk NT:

if you open 1M with 5332 15-17 - you really need Gazilli (which you need anyway IMO, it one of rare conventions I really like) or something similar, that solves your problems fine

if you open 1D - you are kind of screwed, your options are to respond 1M with 3 cards if needed, or even better move bal hands to 1C opening (which is good "modern" idea anyway)

if you open 1C - you play 1nt response 8-10, and 1C-1D semi-artificial (to include 4clubs333 or even maybe 5clubs332 hands 5-8 range), or even better you can play transfer responses to 1C (another good "modern" idea that works even better in WK NT system), then you have no rebid problems AND you rightside everything
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#19 User is offline   zenko 

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Posted 2011-July-07, 12:45

View PostFlem72, on 2011-July-07, 11:42, said:


--You need to be very well versed in fome form of runout over Their double of Your WNT--most SNTers would probably be surprised that I have gotten very good results if allowed to play in my 4-3, 2-level contract.



I disagree big time with this, I play weak NT in all seats, with no runouts, and over the last 3000 hands or so we never went for a number, in fact we played doubled only once for -1 (-100), the other table made vul 3nt other way for +12 IMPS.

What you really need the most is the structure how to deal with opponents bidding after you open 1 in a suit with 15-17 balanced, you are against the field and your judgement/agrements will very often lose/bring a lot of matchpoints, or create medium size swing in IMPs.
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#20 User is offline   Flem72 

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Posted 2011-July-07, 13:33

View Postzenko, on 2011-July-07, 12:45, said:

I disagree big time with this, I play weak NT in all seats, with no runouts, and over the last 3000 hands or so we never went for a number, in fact we played doubled only once for -1 (-100), the other table made vul 3nt other way for +12 IMPS.

Cool. I'll call this "The Lucky 3000." There's a reason EK eventually switched to Chicken at IMPs.

What you really need the most is the structure how to deal with opponents bidding after you open 1 in a suit with 15-17 balanced, you are against the field and your judgement/agrements will very often lose/bring a lot of matchpoints, or create medium size swing in IMPs.


Agree wholeheartedly--support doubles can be an issue b/c you need the "SNT double" in most competitive auctions, and you need to know when to bid NT and when to double.
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