2NT: The Utility Infielder of Bidding

2NT is one of the most varied bids in terms of how it is used.  One reason for this is because it is rarely desirable to be in 2NT as a final contract.  For safety, you want to have about 23+ HCP to be there.  If 9 tricks are there, you’ve missed a game.  If only 7 tricks are there you’re a level too high and are probably getting a bad board.  Because of this, 2NT is often used as a convenient artificial bid.  In this lesson we’ll look at the varying meanings of 2NT, both in uncontested auctions and in competitive auctions.

I.  Uncontested Auctions

A. Opening Bid of 2NT

As an opening bid, 2NT shows a range of _______ to __________ HCP and a _____________ hand.

  • Responses include ______________ and ________________ .
  • With a 5 card major and an otherwise balanced hand, usually open _________ .   For this reason, many pairs play Puppet Stayman over 2NT openers, checking to see if opener has a 5 card major.
  • Is it forcing?  ____________ .

B. 2NT Response to Opening Bid

1.  After Minor Suit Opener (1C, 1D)

2NT response to 1C or 1D:

  • ______  to ___________ HCP (i.e. invitational to _________ )
  • Denies a _________ ____________ ______________ .
  • Is it forcing?  ___________

2.  After Major Suit Opener (1H, 1S)

2NT response to 1H or 1S is _________________, commonly referred to as _____________ _______.

  • ___________ or more trumps.
  • _____________ ________ strength.
  • Is it forcing? _________ . To what level?  ____________.

3.  After 1NT Opener

Standard meaning is _______ to __________ HCP, usually without a ______ ______ _______.

If you play 4 Suit Transfers (if you don’t, I’ll teach them another time), then 2NT is a transfer to _________.

4.  After 2C Opener

Caveat:  You should really really try to avoid responding 2NT to your partner’s 2C opener.

Standard meaning, if you do it, is ______ + HCP and a ___________ __________ .

5.  After Weak 2D/2H/2S Opener

2NT is ____________, asking opener to show a _____________.  (A ___________ is a side ______ or a _______.  It’s not a singleton.  It’s not a side 4 card suit.  It’s not a Queen.)

C. Opener’s 2NT Rebid

1. After Opening 1 of a Suit

  • A jump rebid of 2NT shows _________ to ___________ HCP.   If partner’s response is 1 of a major then 2NT denies ____________ card support for the major.
  • Raising a 1NT response to 2NT shows _______ to ___________ HCP if balanced.  If unbalanced could be a bit wider in range.
    • Example:  Holding Kxx AQxx AKxxx x you can try 2NT over partner’s 1NT response to your 1D opener.  Partner almost always has something in Clubs.
  • A non-jump rebid of 2NT has different meanings depending on whether you’re playing 2/1 or not.
    • If you aren’t playing 2/1 then whether opener’s rebid of 2NT is forcing or not depends on what your default rebid is with a balanced minimum.
      • Example:  You hold Kxx Axxxx QJx Kx.  You open 1H and partner responds 2C.  What do you rebid with this hand?
      • If you can rebid 2NT with a balanced minimum then it shows _______ to _________ and is _____ – ___________.
      • If 2NT promises extras then it should be ______ + HCP.  In this case rebidding opener’s suit may be the default rebid with a balanced minimum.
    • If you are playing 2/1 then a 2NT rebid has a dual range of 12-14 or 18-19.
      • With 12-14, if your partner raises you to 3NT you __________ .
      • With 18-19, if your partner raises you to 3NT you bid _________ (______________).


2. After Opening Strong 2C

Assume you open 2C and your partner responds 2D or 2H.  Your 2NT rebid shows _______ to a “bad” _______ HCP.  Is it forcing? ___________

D.  Responder’s 2NT Rebid

  • At this stage of the auction responder’s 2NT is ________ and ___________, promising a stopper in the unbid suit(s).
  • Example: Kxxx Axx Qxxx Qx.  Your partner opens 1C, you respond 1S, and partner rebids 2C.  You give value to your fitting honor in partner’s likely 6 card suit, so you invite a game.
  • Don’t bid 2NT with a bad hand just because you don’t like your partner’s rebid suit!

II. Competitive Auctions

In a competitive auction it is often the case that the points are fairly evenly split, somewhere in the range of 18-22 for each side.  It is rare that you would want to play 2NT in this situation.

A. If They Open The Bidding

1. 2NT Jump Overcall

This is the ____________ 2NT.

  • If they open 1 of a minor you show ______________ and _______ ___________ _____________.
  • If they open 1 of a major you show _________ _______________.
  • The point range depends on vulnerability and suit texture.

2. 2NT Overcall of their Weak 2 Opener

This is not an unusual NT!  It shows the shape and strength of a __________ opener, perhaps a bit stronger.

  • If you have a weak hand with both minors _________.
  • If you have a strong hand with both minors, overcall in ________ and hope to get ______ into the auction later.

3. 2NT Advance of Partner’s Non-jump Overcall

  • If your partner overcalls at the 1 level then your 2NT shows about ______ to ________ HCP along with a ___________ in the enemy suit.
    • Is it forcing? _____________
    • Is it invitational? __________
  • If your partner overcalls at the 2 level then your 2NT shows _______ + HCP.  It implies a ______ for the overcaller’s suit.
    • Is it forcing? ___________
    • Is it invitational? __________
    • Don’t bid 2NT with a bad hand just because you don’t like your partner’s overcall suit!

4. 2NT Balancing Bid

When the opponents open and raise a major (1H-2H, 1S-2S) then an overcall of 2NT is ___________ for the __________ .

  • In the direct seat (1H) – P – (2H) – 2NT should be shapely.
  • In the balancing seat (1H) – P – (2H) – P – (P) – 2NT can be based on _____ – _______ distribution.
    • Example: Kx xxx A10xx QJxx.

B. If We Open The Bidding

1.  If They Overcall

Examples: 1D – (1S).  1D – (2H).

In general, bids of 2NT in this situation show __________ values and a ___________ in the enemy suit.

2.  If They Double

  • If they double our minor suit opening then 2NT is natural, implying stoppers in the majors.  A lot of times with this type of hand you’ll _________________ instead.
  • If they double our major suit opening then a better use for 2NT is a conventional raise of the major suit.
    • You could choose to play it as Jacoby 2NT after an X, that’s easy to remember.
    • A better but more advanced use of 2NT is known as Jordan 2NT or Truscott 2NT.  It shows a limit raise or better in opener’s major.
      • If you play this, then a redouble really implies _____ __________ .