Passion of The Game of Bridge

The Advantages of Opening 1NT (No Trump): A Bridge Hidden Gem

Regardless of the flavor of 1NT opening that you and your partner chose (Weak No Trump 12-15hcp, Strong NT 16-18hcp or Mini NT 10-12hcp, with or without 5 card Major, etc), there are certain advantages that can make Opening 1 NT a hidden gem to advance your bridge experience.

The Advantages of Opening 1NT

  1. Pre-emptive effect. Opponent cannot lightly call at 1 level (sometime with good but only 4 cards suit , more as “lead directing”)
  2. 1NT is very descriptive but without giving away information too much : narrow HCP range, only 5-3-3-2, 4-4-3-2 and 4-3-3-3 distribution. For example some of the bid will be: 1NT – 3NT. And opponent have nothing more specific to start their defense.
  3. Easier for responder. Once partner open 1NT, responder can immediately judge whether there is possible game or slam at all. Actually responder play bigger role in determining the final contract here.
  4. Transfer mechanism is very good. Responder can make use of his long suit but very few point (even zero point) as a trump trough transfer bid as partner will have at least 2 of that suit.
  5. Responder can still inquire more detail of the distribution and point if necessary. E.g: Stayman, Puppet Stayman, etc… Or show his/her detail distribution without giving away info of the other hand. (For Non 1NT sequence, the communication will be 2 way with both responder and opener show their suit or 2nd suit)
  6. It’s usually harder for opponent to do competitive bidding as it will require detail sequence. For example, once open 1NT, probably very hard (although not impossible) for the opponent then play 3NT.
  7. The level of contract (if part score) will usually only up to level 2. E.g: How many times you will encounter 1NT-Pass-Pass-Pass probably countless. Making the risk lower.

The Disadvantages of Opening 1NT

On the other hand, some of disadvantaged of 1NT opening are:

  1. You usually cannot play minor at level 2. But usually it’s better play 1NT than 3C, who knows ?
  2. Since you did not show any suit, in competitive bidding situation, although fit, sometime you don’t know the fit. For example: 1NT-(3H)-X (takeout)-(4H)-?? vs 1D-(3H)-4D-(4H)-5D.
  3. You need to have a solid escape plan when opponent doubled your weak NT opening.


So, in general, opening 1NT will give your side many advantages that can be used to maximize your result. That’s why , one of the reason experts playing Weak NT (open 1NT with 12-14HCP) or even Mini NT(open 1NT with less than 12HCP) is to make use the above advantages. (12-14HCP balance will come more often than 16-18hcp balanced).

Also, since the bidding sequence is easier, it is recommended for beginner to “master” their 1NT opening sequence first.

Considering play Weak NT ?

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