Weakness takeouts after a 1NT opening
How many points do I need to respond to a 1NT opening in bridge? None, when you are making a weakness takeout!
After a 1NT opening, bidding a new suits at the 2 level is called a weakness takeout.
North opens 1NT. For me, that's 12 to 14 points. Some of you will be playing standard so that 1NT would be 15 to 17.
Responding to 1NT
How many points do I need to respond to 1NT? It's actually a trick question because points don't matter in this situation. I can bid on zero points if I wanted to. You might've heard, hang on, the responder needs six points to respond, but that's only when the opener starts with a suit bid. If North had bid 1♣ or 1♦ and I was going to bid 1♠, yep, six or more points. But after our partner opens 1NT, we can do whatever we want.
But why would we want to do anything with three points? Well, suppose we pass here, North's going to be playing in 1NT. Our hand might be helpful. We might be able to run that spade suit, but probably not. Chances are even if we could establish that spade suit it'd be hard to get back to the south hand all the time to keep running the suit. But if spades were trumps, then that south hand looks pretty good!
Choosing the best contract
So forget about points for a second and just remember that after a 1NT opening bid we can do whatever we want. That's first thing. Second thing is what do we want? Do we want to have our side playing in 1NT or 2♠.
I want to be playing in 2♠. So there are two ways you can go about this. I am not playing transfers. So for me it's real simple. I'm just bid 2♠ and that's the finish. If you are playing transfers, you get the same result because after 1NT you would bid 2♥ and then North would be 2♠ and then we'd pass. Either way, we get to play in 2♠ on this hand.
After partner opens 1NT and then we take it out into a two level suit contract that's called a weakness takeout. It doesn't show any points at all. It just says, I'd rather play in my suit rather than leave you in 1NT.
Play of the hand
This doesn't look awesome, but it's not too bad. And certainly 1NT would've been not so good because we could never run that spade suit.
We can ruff the third round of hearts but then what? Well, I want to do two things. I want to draw trumps, but I want to draw trumps starting in the North hand so I can play a low spade towards the South hand. I'd quite like to set the club suit up and I can take a double finesse, playing low to the nine and then, when I regain the lead, low to the 10. I'm just hoping that West has got at least one of those missing club honors and that double finesse might allow me to get two club tricks. Then I'll be able to throw away one of my losing diamonds.
So a bit of a tricky one! I want to finesse the clubs and I want to finesse the spades. I'm in the south hand at the moment, so I might as well start with the club finesse.