Alternatives to the 15-17 1NT rebid

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Alternative ranges for no trump rebids


Note that standard methodology in this situation has changed  in recent years.

The previous page addresses the modern method in which your rebid of 1NT promises 15 to 17 points and which is recommended.


The present page addresses both the earlier method in which your rebid of 1NT promises just 15 or 16 points along with a number of other possibilities.


Note that the change in methodology only applies when responder’s first bid is at the one-level and opener rebids in no trumps.

There is no change in methodology either when a major suit fit is located immediately, nor when responder’s first response is at the two-level.  For both of these situations I refer you to the previous page.


1NT rebid shows 15 or 16 points


You have a hand of between fifteen and nineteen points (depending on your agreed range for an opening 2NT) inclusive, otherwise you would have opened 1NT or 2NT.


In the traditional method, still common-place in many clubs and likely to be taken for granted by some prospective partners, your rebid of:-


1NT will show a balanced hand and fifteen or sixteen points;

2NT will show seventeen or eighteen points;

and 3NT will show nineteen points.


Some excellent players will argue that you should rebid 2NT only with seventeen points and jump to 3NT with eighteen or more points.

There is no significant advantage or disadvantage in either method.  You will find an analysis on the page ‘partner responded 1NT’.


In the following examples I shall assume that you are playing the traditional ranges as outlined above.

Responder’s first bid

Responder’s rebid

A K 7

9 5

Q 9 5

A J 8 5 3

Playing a twelve to sixteen point 1NT rebid, opener can start with 1 intending to rebid 1NT over a red suit response or raise 1 to 2.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO

?













I am not a fan of this approach.

The argument for being able to open a decent five-card suit is valid, but the thought relating to a weak suit is dubious at best.  It is a hand-me-down from earlier strong no trump systems in which you could afford such a luxury, but its time has passed - or should have done so.

With just twelve to fourteen points a weak suit is almost inevitable - are you really waiting for the hand with just a king in each suit?


When you adopted a weak no trump system you traded the desire for ‘something in every suit’ against the preemptive nature of the bid, the preference for showing your balanced shape at the first opportunity, and the natural meaning of your other one-level opening bids.


As there are better ways in which to use a wide-ranging 1NT rebid (below) then I cannot recommend this convention, but I will not deny that you may still encounter this convention on occasion, and quite possibly in the hands of those who are undoubtedly stronger players than I am.


The fifteen to eighteen 1NT rebid


This will be linked with the standard twelve to fourteen point 1NT opening bid and a forcing 2NT rebid on nineteen points, or indeed ‘nineteen or twenty’ allowing you to play an opening bid of 2NT on a range of twenty one or twenty two.


Immediately the preemptive nature of the weak no trump has been retained, and the problem of the nineteen point hand has been solved.  The 1NT rebid will be linked with an artificial 2 rebid (similar to the Crowhurst or the checkback convention) - see ‘responder’s rebid’.


The method throws a heavy load on the conventional route, and may well lead to a few thin game contracts with seventeen points facing seven, but overall my impression is that, for ambitious partnerships, this is a big improvement on standard methods.

Intermediate and above

A Q 4

K 9 8 6 3

K 5

A 7 2

Sixteen points in a balanced hand.

Bid 1NT (15 - 16).

Partner will force to game with ten or more points, and will make some sort of invitational move (see below) with nine.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO

1

-

1

-

?








A K 4

K T 9 8 6

K 5

A 7 2

Seventeen points in a balanced hand.

Bid 2NT (17 or 18).

With eight (possibly seven) points partner can search for a 5-3 fit in either hearts or spades on the way to 3NT.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO

1

-

1

-

?








A K 4

K Q 9 8 6

K 5

A 7 2

Nineteen points in a balanced hand.

Bid 3NT.

But note that you might miss a superior heart contract based on a 5-3 fit.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO

1

-

1

-

?








Variations on the method


The twelve to sixteen 1NT rebid


This method is the brainchild of the late (d 2012), great, bridge theorist Eric Crowhurst.

It is also the daddy of all the other variations on the basic method.

It will be accompanied by an artificial 2 rebid from responder (The Crowhurst convention) asking for opener to clarify both his range and his major suit holdings.


The main point of the convention is that opener can still open balanced hands in the twelve to fourteen point range with one of a fair five-card suit and then rebid in no trumps without promising extra strength.  It also allows opener to avoid opening 1NT on hands containing a particularly weak suit - typically a small doubleton.

K 5 3

K Q 7 6 3

A 6

K Q 8

Open 1, and rebid 1NT over 1 if playing a 15 - 18 point 1NT rebid.

Partner will only pass with six or a poor seven points.  With anything else you can search at the two-level for a better major suit fit.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO

?













The idea of a forcing 2NT on nineteen (and perhaps twenty) points is excellent.


My recommendation is that you should adopt the fifteen to seventeen 1NT rebid (previous page) as the new ‘standard’ method.


You may at some point choose to replace this with a fifteen to eighteen point 1NT rebid (linked to conventional continuations).


Evaluation


The basic system is good as far as it goes, particularly in its ability to define opener’s strength within a two-point range.


However it is found wanting:-


i)    when an immediate jump to 3NT on nineteen points precludes the possibility of a search for a better contract (typically four of a major based on a 5-3 fit);

ii)    in the inability to distinguish between a jump to 3NT based on a balanced nineteen points, and the jump to 3NT based on tricks in a long minor suit;

iii)  some partnerships are concerned about opening 1NT on a twelve to fourteen point hand containing either a weak doubleton, a decent five-card suit, or both.

This page last revised 19th May 2018

Context  -  Opener’s rebid - you opened one of a suit in first or second seat - LHO passed - partner changed suit at the lowest level - RHO passed - your hand is balanced.

Beginner and above