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NTT (No Trump Trick) hands are a combination of hands between declarer and dummy, where there is a long and solid suit that will produce most of the tricks for your contract. In other words, a notrump contract with a running suit.

The NTT hands are quite different from the regular hand. One of the major advantaged of NTT is that it requires less point (High Card Point) in order to achieve the same trick. For example, if you have a solid-1-suiter such as 8 cards of Diamond: AKQJT642 (10-HCP), then what you required to get all 13 tricks in all surety are 3 other Aces (12 HCP) and a King – Queen combination from 1 suit (5 HCP). That’s a total of 27-HCP only. On the other hand, a balanced hands combination will requires 37 HCP.

Why a NT contract for a running suit?

When you have a solid running suit, especially a minor suit, choosing a NT contract is considered a better choice for several reasons:

  • Only need 9 tricks to get a game score. Compared to 10 for Major suit contract and 11 for a minor suit contract)
  • NT trick has a higher score. For example, if you achieve 11 tricks in 4♥ contracts, that’s +650. But the same 11 tricks in 3NT contract, that’s a +660 score. Seems tiny for an IMP game, but it could be the difference between 100% and 60% in a matchpoint score.
  • The NT contract removes the possibility of your trick being ruff-out. Especially on the opening lead. For example, you play a Heart slam and have all the stopper/control on all other suits. However, the opening leader have a long suit that the partner has none. So your contract defeated at the opening lead because it being ruff out. After all, when you have a very long suit in your hand, there is a tendency that opponent may have a long suit too – so the partner can have a shortage on that suit.

The only better consideration to play in suit contract is when your side do not have all the stopper in all the side suit. In that case, you just play the long suit as the trump.

NTT (No Trump Trick) hands evaluation

In a balance hands (where both dummy and declarer hands are balanced) the total HCP is very important. But in NTT hands, what matters is the number of trick.

Here is the guideline how to estimates the level that you can bid if you have a long running suit:

  1. Estimate how many tricks your solid suit and other Honor in your hands can produce. For example, you have a solid AKQJTxx (6-cards) so, it will probably get 6 tricks. Then you have 1 side Aces. You hand can produce an estimated 7 tricks
  2. Convert your partner opening into the trick, As a guideline, on average 1 trick is equal to 3 HCP (Well, 2.8 HCP to be exact, but 3 is a good rounding). For example, partner open with 15-17 HCP, therefore, estimated on average, partner points can produce around 5 tricks.
  3. Sum (1) and (2) and you get the total tricks you probably get. In this case 7 + 5 = 12 tricks. So, you can have a small slam despite only have a total of 15+14 = 29 HCP.
  4. Then the only thing that matter is to check whether you have all the control for reaching your goal. For example, for a 12-tricks slam, you can only afford to have 1 missing Ace. The easier to do the checking is to bid an Ace-Asking bid, although you can achieve the same result by doing a cuebidding.
  5. If the control is not an Ace or King, but a void or a singleton, then you need to choose a suit contract rather than an NT contract.

NTT (No Trump Trick) hands summary

So, now you know that there are 3 types of hand to bid and play, they are:

  • A NT contract with both balanced hand: use the total HCP to make a decision
  • A NTT (No Trump Trick) hands: use the total trick to make a decision.
  • A suit contract hands: use the LC (Loser Count) to make a decision

Have a wonderful Bridge !

NTT (No Trump Trick) hands
NTT (No Trump Trick) hands