Defences to a 1 no-trump Opening

The weak no-trump is so popular that it is expedient to try to overcall it as often as possible, with sensible values.

The usual defence is to double with one more point than the top of the opponentís 1NT range; or if on lead with a long suit, expecting to make 7 tricks or more. So with a 12-14 range, double with balanced hands with 15 or more pts. Against a strong NT competing is much more difficult.

How many points do you need to bid a suit? 8-14 is the usual range

There are very many conventions to compete against a 12-14/15 NT opening and only a few can be considered here

1. Natural overcalls

2/// are all natural bids, showing a 5 card suit (or more)

Responses are natural and change of suit is forcing for 1 round

2. The Landy convention

2 shows both major suits, preferably 5-4 or better, though many players play this as 4-4.

2// show a 5 card suit in the suit named

With a weak hand you may have to give preference to the major if partner overcalls with 2

There are quite a few variations on this convention. Some use the 2 bid to show an unspecified 6 card suit

3. Astro/Apstro

2 shows hearts and another suit

2 shows spades and another suit

2/ show a 5 card suit without another suit

It works better if the so-called anchor major is 5 cards

However holding 5 hearts and 4 spades many players bid 2 .

Responses: with less than 3 cards in the Ďanchorí major bid the next suit up. With 3 or more cards then bid the major, at the appropriate level. Over partnerís bid of 2/ , then bid 2NT if you are good enough to play at the 3 level and need to know the other suit.


Natural overcalls , uncomplicated but give no indication if there is a second biddable suit.

Landy works best for showing both majors, though you may play in a 4-3 fit.

Astro works well for 5-4 hands, but less well for both majors.

Other named conventions: Sharples, Ripstra, Cansino

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