Bridge4U logo

Bridge in the 21st Century

Responding to 1NT (3) - Jumps to the three-level

Up to around 25 years ago jump responses to a 1NT opening were natural, with a six card or longer suit, and inviting slam. Nowadays there are other ways to show these hands and partnerships look for better ways to use these idle bids.
This is my recommended scheme of responses, the two criteria being frequency and usefulness.
1NT 3 - Puppet Stayman
3 - Minor suit Stayman, 5-4, 6-4 or 5-5 in the minors, slam interest
3 - Splinter, game forcing singleton heart with three spades
3 - Splinter, game forcing singleton spade with three hearts

1NT - 3
Although it is a good idea to open 1NT with a five card major you will sometimes miss a 5-3 major fit that simple Stayman won't uncover. A frequent and useful solution I like very much is to use 1NT:3C as Puppet Stayman

Puppet Stayman is easy:
1NT 3 - Puppet Stayman 10+ HCP or the equivalent
3 I have one or both four-card majors, responder now bids the major not held so that the strong hand can be declarer
3 /3 5-card suit
3NT No 4 or 5-card major

On this deal Puppet Stayman would have saved the day:

Using Simple Stayman the bidding would be:
Opponents can take the first five club tricks but with 3C as Puppet Stayman the bidding is:
You can also use Puppet Stayman simply to find the 5-3 major fit.
Bid 3C with:
10 6485AKJ1062Q3
1NT - 3
This is not frequent but does cope with hands that cannot otherwise be bid and shows at least 5-4 in the minors and game forcing.
To save space the 1NT opener can bid 3 over 3 with four clubs and 3 with four diamonds ( = , = ). 4 or 4 directly over 3 should be Minorwood, giving more space for slam exploration.

Responder bids 1NT - 3 with these hands:
6, 98AK764KJ982Void
1NT - 3, 1NT- 3
Splinters and transfers are two methods that have prospered over the years. The jumps to 3 and 3 over 1NT are game-forcing splinters with exactly three in the other major.
Some examples are:
1NT - 3
K106, 8, KJ76, AJ952
1065, 5, K6432, AQJ2

The next bid should be automatic for the opener: 1NT - 3
K106, Q985, AK4, A52 - 3NT, your hearts are thin but nothing else appeals
K10653, Q98, AK4, K2 - 3 you have a 5-3 spade fit
AQJ4, 985, K43, AJ2 - 4 only a 4-3 fit but you can trump hearts in dummy
AQJ2, AQ2, K1062, 87 - 3NT a good spot with the lead coming into AQ
This hand was from bidding practice:
Here the splinter pinpoints the perfect fit (three small is the best possible holding opposite a shortage) and the opener agrees diamonds as trumps and asks for Key Cards when responder cuebids what must be A.
Opener can easily visualize responder with A, Q and AQ and thus the 27-HCP slam is easily bid.

Paul Lavings, Paul Lavings Bridge Books & Supplies.