Page 8 - SPBC-Sept-2019-22
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        Hello Jerry,
               My partner and I differ in the meaing of bidding sequences involving a
        response of 1NT. When my partner opens one of a suit and there’s a one-level
        overcall, should a 1NT response show a stopper, or simply show point count? My
        partner strongly believes in the point-count aspect, while I strongly believe in the
        necessity of having a stopper. What is your take on this issue?
        J.C.G.

        Hi, J.C.G.,
               One of the underlying issues here is the vast difference between auctions
        in competition as opposed to those where the opponents are silent. When an
        opening bid is followed by a pass, a 1NT response is often the best alternative
        even when it looks a little odd. For instance, say you hold:
             ♠J96 ♥J54 ♦A ♣J87542

             West North East  South
               1♦   Pass     ?


               With 7 high-card points, pass should not be considered an option for a
        variety of reasons. First of all, partner could have a strong hand with five diamonds
        and five clubs, and I suspect a club contract would be far superior to 1♦. Second,
        partner could hold any number of very strong hands where a game is possible,
        but languishing in 1♦ could work out terribly. A 2♣ response would be an over-
        statement of values, and while some imaginative players might respond in a
        three-card major, 1NT seems the “least bad” alternative: showing 6-10 HCP, no
        four-card major and not enough support to raise diamonds.
               If the opponents had intervened with either 1♥ or 1♠, pass would be clear-
        cut.
             This time you hold:
             ♠976 ♥A54 ♦J7 ♣K8743

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