Consult the Coopers: Responding when Opener rebids 1NT, July 2011
by Kitty and Steve Cooper, Fort Collins, CO
Mike Novack of Humble, Texas asks “North opens 1D , South bids 1S, North rebids 1NT. South holds S Kxxxx H xx D Axxx C xx. Does South pass 1NT, rebid spades, or bid 2D? What is considered the best answer and why? I have always considered the spade rebid as typically showing six - is that correct?”
When your partner bids 1NT he has limited his hand. Thus, the problem on a weakish hand that is not worth an invitation is to play in the right partscore. So you rebid your major whether you have five or six whenever you think that is the best place to play. The weaker your hand, the less you want to play in 1NT. If you have a balanced 5-3-3-2 pattern and nine or more points mainly outside your major you can pass 1NT, but otherwise bid two of your major to play. You would transfer out to your major over a 1NT opening, so this is not much different.
On the hand in question, the safest spot to play is 2D which is a known eight card fit, presuming your partner only opens 1D on three when he has a 4-4-3-2 distribution, so that’s where you want to play at IMPs. Since spades outscores diamonds, if your spade spots are good, you might venture 2S at matchpoints.
If you held S Kxxxx H Axxx D xx C xx you would bid 2H over 1NT which is an offer of a place to play. You expect partner to either pass or bid 2S over this.
Almost all serious players use the bid of a new minor as conventional after a 1N rebid. Using New Minor Forcing you would rebid 2C with at least a game invitational hand and North would bid 2H if he has four, 2S if he has three spades without four hearts, and either 2D or 2N if he has neither.
An even better approach is Two-way New Minor Forcing where 2C forces partner to bid 2D and now you pass or make a natural bid with an invitational hand. With a forcing hand you bid 2D as an artificial game force and partner makes a natural response. Using this method with Mike’s original hand, you would bid 2C at IMPs, but here that would force partner to bid 2D, which you would pass; at matchpoints you might do that or you might just bid 2S.
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