Main     Structure 7G74 by Richard Pavlicek    

Three Notrump Opening

In a Nutshell

I never liked the “gambling 3 NT” and I don’t like waiting for 25+ HCP, so I invented my own 3 NT opening. Basically, it shows any strong one-suiter, and it’s forcing. Suit is usually a major, but can be a minor with shape undesirable to play 3 NT.

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Details

An opening bid of 3 NT is forcing, showing any self-sufficient suit with 9+ playing tricks. If suit is a minor, shape is usually extreme since 3 NT is ruled out as a contract. Strength is typically 11-16 HCP but unlimited; many one-suiters usually opened 2 C are better opened 3 NT.

West
3 NT
North
Pass
East
?
South

Call
4 C
4 D
4 H, 4 S
4 NT




Meaning
exactly 1 ace, F
no aces (assumed) or 2 aces, F
7+ cards (strong 6), at most 1 ace, NF
3 aces, F to slam

West
3 NT
?
North
Pass
East
4 C
South
Pass

Call
4 D
4 H, 4 S
4 NT
5 C, 5 D




Meaning
strength ask (slam possible)
sign-off
asks which ace (responder bids it)
sign-off

West
3 NT
4 D
North
Pass
Pass
East
4 C
?
South
Pass

Call
4 H
4 S
4 NT
5 C, 5 D, 5 H




Meaning
nothing extra
something extra
much extra with S A
much extra with that ace

Opener then places contract or bids 4 NT to ask which ace.

West
3 NT
?
North
Pass
East
4 D
South
Pass

Call
4 H, 4 S
4 NT
5 C, 5 D



Meaning
real suit, NF
strength ask* (slam possible if aceless)
real suit, NF

*3 steps: nothing, something, much

If responder has 2 aces, he must continue by bidding a non-ace suit to pinpoint locations. Opener then signs off without control in that suit, bids slam, or uses the cheapest available other bid as a 3-step strength ask.

West
3 NT
?
North
Pass
East
4 H
South
Pass
analogous for 4 S response

Call
4 NT
Suit


Meaning
Blackwood (bid major key)
real suit, NF

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Competitive agreements

West
3 NT
North
Dbl
East
?
South

Call
Pass*
Rdbl
Other



Meaning
no ace, no likely tricks
1 ace + defensive strength
unchanged

*allows stopping in 4 C or 4 D if opener bids it

West
3 NT
North
4 H
East
?
South
analogous for any overcall

Call
Pass*
Dbl
Cheapest suit
Other suit
Cheapest NT
5 NT jump






Meaning
nondescript
trump stack, penalty
1 ace
natural, NF
2 aces, F
3 aces, F

*Opener must always compete to 4 level but may elect not to risk 5 level.

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© 2013 Richard Pavlicek