Responding in No-Trumps to partner's overcall

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When partner opens a suit at the one level then he usually has 12+ points and No Trump responses are generally defined as 1NT (6-10), 2NT (11-12), 3NT (13-15).


But when partner makes a 1-level overcall things are different. Partner has a 5 card suit but may have as few as 7 points, so you need more points to respond in No Trumps (and also a good stopper(s) in the suit that LHO opened).


No Trump responses to a 1-level overcall are as follows: -

1NT = 10-12
2NT = 13-14
3NT = 15
Hand A Hand B Hand C Hand D
32 32 J2 J
Q95 Q95 Q95 Q952
KJ54 KJ54 AQ54 AQ54
J542 KQ54 KJ54 Q1054

Consider the four hands above, and the action you would take if :

(a) Partner opened 1 (assume that 2NT is natural and not Jacoby 2NT), or

LHO opened 1 and partner overcalls 1.

Hand A: (a) 1NT, this is a ‘courtesy' bid – you are obliged to bid with 6+ points.
  (b) Pass. You are under no obligation to bid over a simple overcall.
Hand B: (a) 2NT, 11-12 points.
  (b) 1NT. Partner may have as few as 7 points and so 2NT would be too high.
Hand C: (a) 3NT, 13-15 points
  (b) 2NT, 13-14 points
Hand D: (a) 2, you do not bid 2NT as that would deny a 4 card suit. You plan to bid 2NT (11-12) next go unless partner bids 's in which case you raise.
  (b) 1NT, 11-13 with quite possibly a 4 card suit.
    Note that you cannot use the same ploy of bidding a minor suit as that is non-forcing opposite an overcall and a 2 bid may get you too high anyway.

Note that if partner's overcall is at the two level (not a weak jump) then he presumably has close to opening values and the No Trump responses are approximately : -

2NT = 11-13
3NT = 14+
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