Opening 1 No Trump in Precision Bidding

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  <legend> Beginning Precision Responses to 1 No Trump</legend>
  <p>When your partner has bid the weak 1N, never pass with a 5-card major even with no points, and do not use transfers. Most of the rest of the time, the best response is to pass. Responding with 2C is Stayman forcing for 1 round and requires having at least 11 points of your own. With a 5-card major and game prospects, respond at the 3-level. Opener then has the choice of bidding 3NT with only 2 cards in the suit, or to bid 4 of your major with support. Of course with enough extra values the responder can then launch into Blackwood or Gerber as appropriate.</p>
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  <legend> Intermediate Precision Responses to 1 No Trump</legend>
  <p>This is where I let you in on Precision's dirty little secret: The Weak 1 Notrump and Unusual 2 Notrump opening preemptive bids are what make the system a winning strategy. Ask yourself: when you have a marginal preempt possibility in your hand, wouldn't it be nice to know in advance that you can count on your partner for some help?</p>

<p>It seems counter-intuitive for players who are used to American Standard Bidding to open with 1NT with only 8-12 high card points (use 11-15 when vulnerable), but it often leads to high boards. If you are an experienced Bridge player, you might be thinking "Open an 8 point hand with a 1NT bid??? That's crazy!!!".  So let me tell you about a recent experience.</p>

<p>North was my right-hand opponent who passed as dealer. I was sitting East with 9 points, 4 of each minor, 3 spades, and two hearts. Our opponents were vulnerable and we were not, so I thought it was time for aggressive bidding: 1NT. My left-head opponent was planning a reverse with 19 points and 4 hearts to the Ace-Queen-ten, but instead had to double my opening bid. My partner had only 7 points but 5 hearts to the King-Jack-nine and dutifully bid 2 hearts hoping I had more than 2 of them (I didn't). North now had a dilemna, having 5 diamonds but only 5 points. She certainly didn't want to double or raise to 2 NT with only two small hearts but also was reluctant to chime in at the 3 level in diamonds. She passed and so did I. Now the big hand had an even bigger dilemna! His partner had passed twice; my partner's hearts were behind his own strong suit. Being vulnerable, he couldn't afford to bid 2 NT nor risk doubling us into game. He passed. We were set 2 tricks for a score of -100, but South at every other table that night scored 10 tricks in 3 NT with a heart lead from West. South threw a fit at his wife for failing to bid her diamond suit but then both turned their wrath on us for punking them with our outrageous strategy. That's probably a good thing as it might have kept them out of divorce court. Normally it would have been impossible for my partner to bid his weak 5-card heart hand. Because he already knew he could count on me for at least some help, it made for a great preempt. It was better than a weak 2-heart open since he was not required to reveal much about his point count and so could keep our vulnerable opponents at bay.</p>

<p>In Precision, all hands with 16 or more high card points open with a demand bid of 1 club. Along with the weak 1NT, this squeezes 1 Diamond opening bids (generally) into 13-15, which is very useful information to the responding partner.</p>

<p>Your opponents will often defensively overbid and get into awkward contracts after this open. Picture this frequent occurrence: You open 1N with a fairly pathetic hand. Unbeknownst to you and your opponents, your partner, who announces your weak range but passes anyway, has an 11 point hand with no long suit. One of your opponents, having most of the remaining points, doubles your 1N bid, but the other opponent has a bust hand and has to pass. Other players of this board pass on your hand, but you easily make the contract and get a high board as a result. Another common result: the opponents defensively bid clear up to 3NT when they can't find a fit, going down 2 tricks when they would have stopped at 1NT if they had a chance to start the bidding in a suit at the 1 level.</p>

<p>When your partner has bid the weak 1N, never pass with a 5-card major even with no points, and do not use transfers. Most of the rest of the time, the best response is to pass. Responding with 2C is Stayman forcing for 1 round, and 2D is Stayman game-forcing. With a 5-card major and game prospects, respond at the 3-level. Opener then has the choice of bidding 3NT with only 2 cards in the suit, or to bid 4 of your major with support. Of course with enough extra values the responder can then launch into Blackwood or Gerber as appropriate.</p>

<p>One nit-picky item. If you have at least one 4-card major and your hand passes the "Rule of 20" (point count added to the total length of your 2 longest suits totals 20 or more), it is usually better to bid 1D instead of 1N.</p>

<p>Things are a bit different when vulnerable. Open 1NT with no 4-card major but passing "Rule of 20", usually 13-15 HCP. Be sure to adjust responses accordingly and still bid a 5 card major even with no points.</p>

<p>Avoid bidding the lower ends of these ranges unless your opponents are vulnerable and especially avoid the lowest unless you can justify it with some 9's, 10's, and tenaces.</p>
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  <legend>Summary of responses to 1 No-Trump open</legend>
  <p>Note that these suit bids include distribution in their point counts, since you know your partner has at least 2 cards to support your suit, and possibly more. Use 5 for a void, 3 for a singleton, and 1 for a doubleton.</p>
 <ul>
  <li><a href="/precision/1N_2C">2C</a> - non-game forcing Stayman, 11-13 HCP and at least one 4-card major</li>
  <li><a href="/precision/1N_2D">2D</a> - game forcing Stayman (only use when non-vulnerable), 14+ HCP and at least one 4-card major or 5+ diamonds</li>
  <br />
  <li><a href="/precision/1N_2H">2H</a> - to play, 0-12 points and 5 or more hearts</li>
  <li><a href="/precision/1N_2S">2S</a> - to play, 0-12 points and 5 or more spades</li>
  <br />
  <li><a href="/precision/1N_2N">2N</a> - invitational to game, 13-14 HCP.</li>
  <br />
  <li><a href="/precision/1N_3C">3C</a> - to play, 8-12 points and 5+ clubs with shortness in another suit.</li>
  <li><a href="/precision/1N_3D">3D</a> - to play, 8-12 points and 5+ diamonds with shortness in another suit.</li>
  <br />
  <li><a href="/precision/1N_3H">3H</a> - invitational to game, 13+ points and 5+ hearts. Opener should bid 4H with 3-card support, or bid 3N without support.</li>
  <li><a href="/precision/1N_3S">3S</a> - invitational to game, 13+ points and 5+ spades</li>
 </ul>
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  <legend><a name="NotrumpSummary">Opening in No Trump</a></legend>
  <ul>
    <li>1N open: <br /> NON-VULNERABLE: 8 to 12 HCP with a square hand<br /> VULNERABLE: 11 to 15 HCP, square and no 4-card majors</li>
    <li>2N open: at least 5-5 in the minor suits with only 8 to 12 HCP if vulnerable and 4 to 9 HCP if not vulnerable. Partner should sign off by bidding 3 of his longest minor suit or maybe pass if at least 4-4 in the majors.</li>
 </ul>
 <ul>Bid the following with square distributions and:
  <li>11 to 15 HCP: open 1D followed by 1N after a major response if you do not have 3 of the major</li>
  <li>16 to 19 HCP: open 1C. If the response is the weak 1D, rebid 1NT if you have 18 to 19, or bid a heart relay to 1NT if your range is 16 to 17</li>
  <li>20 to 23 HCP: same as previous range using 2N instead of 1N
  <li>24 to 27 HCP: same as previous range using 3N</li>
  <li>28+: open 1C. Use a heart relay to 4N (Blackwood) if the response is the weak 1D</li>
 </ul>

<p>2NT open is similar to the "Unusual No Trump" overcall. It indicates at least 5-4 in the minors, with 8-12 HCP vulnerable and 4-9 HCP non-vulnerable.</p>
<p>3NT open is "Gambling", showing 7 or 8 of a solid minor suit (AKQ or better), but no outside top honors.</p>
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