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Partner bid a Jacoby 2NT


There are a number of conventions in which 2NT is used as a support bid for partner’s major suit opening.

There can be some ambiguity over the nomenclature.  My usage is that the Jacoby convention is game-forcing, and that is the assumption on this page.  A common alternative in which the 2NT bid is invitational or better (i.e. forcing only as far as the three-level in the first instance) can be found by following this link.


Partner has agreed your suit and forced to game but he might have something to spare and a slam interest - you must help him in any such search by doing more than bidding game.


You and your partner should have a clear agreement on the meaning of the various continuations.

There are many possibilities and you must choose.


There is, though, some common ground:-


three of the agreed major is stronger than four of the agreed major;

3NT shows a balanced hand somewhere in the fifteen to nineteen range;

a jump to 4NT is RKCB;

a jump to a slam is to play.

Intermediate and above

Post-beginner to intermediate

New suits at the three- and four-levels


New suits at the three- and four-levels provide a playground for those who want to put their own slant on things.


It is worth pointing out that any fully agreed and understood system will work on most hands.

There will be hands on which one system is better than another, but conversely there will be other hands on which the reverse is true.

Make your choice - be certain that both members of the partnership understand it fully - and it will serve you well on the vast majority of occasions.


Just to give you a taste of what is possible here are five(!) options:-


Option 1 (not uncommon in club play)


any bid in a new suit is a first-round control (this method may be extended to first- or second-round controls if you wish).


The remaining options are each taken from the writings of acknowledged experts.  I hope that I have summarised them correctly.  My most sincere apologies to the authors if I have misrepresented them in any way.


Option 2 (Ron Klinger - Bridge conventions, defences and countermeasures)


a new suit at the three-level shows a singleton;

a new suit at the four-level shows a void;

3NT promises fourteen or fifteen points (balanced or semi-balanced);

three of the agreed suit promises sixteen+ points (balanced or semi-balanced);

four of the agreed suit promises a maximum of thirteen points (balanced or semi-balanced, and unsuitable for an opening bid of 1NT.)


Option 3 (David Bird - 10 more ways to improve your bridge)


a new suit at the three-level shows shortage (void or singleton);

a new suit at the four-level shows a good suit (five-card including two top honours);

3NT promises fourteen to sixteen points (balanced or semi-balanced);

three of the agreed suit promises seventeen+ points (balanced or semi-balanced);

four of the agreed suit promises a maximum of thirteen points (balanced or semi-balanced).


Option 4 (Andrew Robson - in his teaching seminars)


a new suit at the three-level is a trial bid;

a new suit at the four-level shows shortage (void or singleton);

3NT promises fifteen to nineteen points in a balanced hand;

three of the agreed suit promises a six-card suit;

four of the agreed suit is weak.


and, finally


Option 5 (Michael Byrne, in the December 2014 edition of English Bridge, who describes the following version as ‘the most common’)


a new suit at the three-level shows shortage (void or singleton);

a new suit at the four-level shows a good suit (five-card including two top honours);

3NT promises fifteen to nineteen points (balanced or semi-balanced with only four trumps);

three of the agreed suit promises fifteen+ points (say) with no shortage or good side-suit;

four of the agreed suit promises a maximum of about thirteen points with no shortage or good side-suit.


Evaluation


It becomes immediately evident that there is no clear consensus on the matter.


I have not had the opportunity to compare these methods in anything like top-class play - and so I shall decline the opportunity to make a strong recommendation, but I will allow myself a few unsubstantiated thoughts.


Option 1 does not appeal to me - it achieves little and might give valuable information to the defence in the process.

If you start by showing one of the main features of the hand such as a shortage or a strong side-suit you will frequently get the opportunity to show specific controls in the ensuing auction.


It will be immediately clear that in some of these options the 3NT bid will on occasion have to be made on quite unsuitable semi-balanced hands - e.g. a 14 or 15 point hand with 5-4-2-2 shape including a weak doubleton.  The main point of the bid is not so much to show the hand-type or to suggest an alternative contract as to deny holding any of the other features (e.g. shortage or strong side-suit).

It follows that responder will almost always revert to the major suit fit.

One possibility is to to use the bid to suggest a possible alternative final contract by promising some sort of minimum holding in each side suit - perhaps ‘Kx or Qxx’ any other hand travelling by way of three or four of the agreed suit.


In option 4 I suspect that knowledge of a six-card suit might be overrated.

I like the idea of the trial bid.  Clearly this must be a slam-try trial bid although I am not clear about the style of trial bid.  I  imagine that either ‘natural and shape-showing’ or ‘long suit’ would fit perfectly well into the system.


And in options 3 and 5 I like the opportunity to show a subsidiary source of tricks.

Note that the unbalanced options do not limit the strength of the hand in any way.


If you hold a quality five-card side-suit your hand will also frequently contain a short suit.  You should have a partnership agreement as to which one you will prioritise.  My preference is to show the suit rather than the shortage.

 

The following examples assume option 5 (above).

A K 8 4

Q 6

A 8 7 5

K J 6

2NT is Jacoby - game-forcing agreeing spades.

Bid 3NT to show a strong balanced hand with just four trumps.

If you require a minimum side-suit quality of Kx or Qxx then you will bid 3 with this hand.


You

LHO

Pard

RHO

1

-

2NT

-

?








A K 8 4

A K

A 8 7 5

J 9 6

Certainly you have a slam interest but there is a real concern over clubs.

Bid 3NT, to show a balanced hand in the fifteen to nineteen range.

With some agreements you will prefer to bid 3 as above.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO

1

-

2NT

-

?








A K 8 7 5 2

6

A 7 5

K 6 4

2NT is Jacoby - game-forcing agreeing spades.

Bid 3 promising either a void or a singleton in the suit.


You

LHO

Pard

RHO

1

-

2NT

-

?








A K 8 7 5 2

9 6

A 7 5

K 6

2NT is Jacoby - game-forcing agreeing spades.

I upgrade this by a point for its trump length.

Bid 3, but 4 would not be wrong.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO

1

-

2NT

-

?








A K 8 5 2

6

7 5

A K 7 6 4

2NT is Jacoby - game-forcing agreeing spades.

Bid 4 promising a decent five-card suit.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO

1

-

2NT

-

?








Responder’s first bid

Responder’s rebid

This page last revised 2nd May 2017