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When is 2NT natural?


I have used 2NT as an artificial support bid in a great many situations.

If you have chosen to follow me down this path then you must be certain that you can distinguish between those occasions on which it is natural, and those on which it is artificial.


Note that most authorities will suggest that 2NT should be used as an artificial bid in a similar set of situations to those which follow, but it will not necessarily be exactly the same set, nor will the assigned artificial meanings necessarily be identical in detail.


A bid of 2NT is a support bid for partner’s major if:-


the bid is made at the first opportunity after partner opens or overcalls in his major, whether or not there is an intervening bid or double, subject to the second and third specific provisos below.


A bid of 2NT is a support bid for partner’s minor-suit opening bid if:-


there is an intervening double.


A bid of 2NT may be played as part of a two-suited take-out system in either the direct overcall seat or the protective seat, over an opening bid of one of a suit or 1NT.


A bid of 2NT is natural if:-


you open 2NT or an artificial 2NT sequence;

you open one of a suit and rebid 2NT (you do not support responder’s or advancer’s new suit in this way);

you double the opponents’ suit for take-out and then rebid 2NT (this is how you show an 18+ point count);

your bid of 2NT is not made at the first opportunity following your partner’s bid in a major;

your partner’s last bid was in a minor suit (except when RHO then doubles an opening bid);

your opponents opened with a natural weak two.

Beginner and above

This is some kind of good raise in spades.

I prefer to play it as a game-forcing raise (Jacoby), but some will agree to play it as a good raise to three or more.

If played as Jacoby it is likely to be followed by a series of bids in search of a possible slam.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO



1

-

2NT








Still a full-value raise in spades, but it in the contested auction it is usually played as forcing only as far as 3.

It is stronger than a direct jump to 3.

As well as forcing to at least 3 it also suggests some defensive values based on a high card holding of ten or so points.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO



1

x

2NT








No difference.

This is a full value raise to 3 or more in the contested auction.

It says nothing about your hearts.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO



1

2

2NT








This is a natural bid facing partner’s minor suit.

It suggests invitational values together with (a) good stop(s) in hearts.

It would also be natural if RHO had passed.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO



1

2

2NT








You are not showing support for partner’s spades.

The 2NT support meaning applies only opposite opener’s or overcaller’s first bid.

This rebid was planned before you started to show a hand of seventeen or eighteen points.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO

1

-

1

-

2NT








You are not showing support for partner’s spades.

This is how you show a balanced of eighteen or more points with (a) heart stop(s).

You

LHO

Pard

RHO




1

x

-

1

-

2NT




I play this bid to show a good raise to 3 or higher.  If you happen to hold a natural 2NT hand, balanced with a good heart stop and a poor fit for partner, you must either double or pass initially.  With any luck partner will reopen.  Many authorities will play 2NT in this position as natural taking all good raises through 3 - the unassuming cue-bid.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO


1

1

2

2NT








This is natural.

Partner is neither opener nor overcaller.

You are showing seventeen or eighteen points in a balanced hand with a good stop in hearts.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO

1

1

1

2

2NT








I play this as a good raise to 3 or more.

If you want to bid a natural 2NT then you must make a bid in a new suit first.

Alternatively play this bid as natural and take all good raises through the unassuming cue-bid 2.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO


1

1

-

2NT








This is a natural invitational bid with a good stop in hearts facing partner’s minor suit.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO


1

2

-

2NT