Dan Romm

Bidding Against a Weak NT

I. The best defense is to fight fire with fire

  1. In the immediate seat: double with any balanced hand as strong as opener’s minimum (or the middle of his range if you prefer).

  3. In the pass out seat: you should have more strength (at least the middle of opener’s range or a source of tricks) since opener’s partner usually won’t pass 1NT if he is weak; he will transfer into a 5 card suit if he has one, use garbage Stayman with a singleton club, or use some other run mechanism (which most weak NT players have).

  5. Against a 10-12 HCP 1NT, doubler’s partner should sit with 9+ points or more unless he is strong enough to think game is likely and will produce a better result.

  7. Against a 12-14 HCP 1NT, doubler’s partner should sit with 7+ points or more unless he is strong enough to think game is likely and will produce a better result.

II. Analysis:

  1. This remedy puts the opponents at the same risk as you. Granted, you are usually in trouble whenever they hold the balance of strength. But, on the other hand, they are usually in trouble whenever your side holds the balance of strength. So, they will be in trouble more often than you for three reasons:


      a. The opener’s hand has an upper limit whereas the doubler’s doesn’t.

      b. If you end up defending 1NT your side has the advantage of the opening lead.

      c. If you end up playing the hand (much more likely than against a strong 1NT) you will have no problem locating the missing honors.


  2. Against weak NT’s, doubling with these hands levels the playing field and is far better than letting the opponents rob you blind if you don’t.

  4. If the doubler has more than opener’s range, how will his partner know? His opponent will tell him! The opener’s partner has the disadvantage of having to decide what to do first, thus revealing his hand. He will run after an immediate double (and also after an immediate pass as in I.2 above) if he thinks his side is in trouble. After he does so, the doubler can double again to show extra strength.

  6. Along the same lines, it is probably best that you merely need be in the same range as the 1NT opener to make the appropriate bid with unbalanced hands whatever system you use (Cappelletti, Suction, Astro, etc.).

1 Comment

Zdenek OlivaJanuary 27th, 2014 at 2:22 pm

I agree completely with DR comments, but, in the Analysis, he
forgot most important reason why 1NT opener will be in trouble after the double – positional reason:
The doubler is sitting over the 1NT opener ! So, most of impasses will work for the doubler !

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