Main Page - Lesson Deals - Play Technique Previous - Lessons - Next Bidding Conventions LESSON 31The Jacoby 2NT response

(
Down - Top)

BR 31.1 - The two Jump-raise alternatives

In recent years many players using the "Standard American" system (SAS, as outline here by Jazclass) have abandoned the traditional Game forcing jump raise of 1♥-3♥ and 1♠- 3♠ (showing 13+ points) and started to use it as an Invitation bid (the so-called Limit raise copied from the Acol system) showing trump support, 10-12 points and exactly 8 losers.

The Table below compares the traditional Game Force version (as taught here on Jazclass) with a basic Limit Raise version as outlined by Dormer & Klinger ("The New Complete Book of Bridge", 2010).

Point range Type Game Force Limit Raise
6-10 Weak response 1♥ - 2♥ 1♥ - 2♥
10-12 Invitational
8 losers exactly
1♥ - 2♣ - 2♦ - 3♥ 1♥ - 3♥
13-15 Game force 1♥ - 3♥ 1♥ - 2♣ - 2♦ - 4♥
16+ Game force 1♥ - 3♥ 1♥ - 3♣ - 3♦ - 4♥
6-10 HCPs Pre-emptive
4+ trumps, unbal.
1♥ - 4♥ 1♥ - 4♥

The above two options for Game force hands which comebine with the Limit Raise are rather cumbersome, because :

1. The strong jump shift of the 16+ Response hand is incompatible with any alternative weak jump shift.

2. There is no need to distinguish at this point between a 13-15 pts and 16+ pts Responder's hand.
(The Opener will reveal his point range with his next bid).

3. The delayed raises to Game take up unnecessary bidding space which is lost to Slam investigation.

I therefore present to you the following approach, which is both simpler and more "space efficient". It simply reverses the bidding options for the Game Force and and Limit Raise of the two bidding systems.

Point range Type Game Force Limit Raise
6-10 Weak response 1♥ - 2♥ 1♥ - 2♥
10-12 Invitational
8 losers exactly
1♥ - 2♣ - 2♦ - 3♥ 1♥ - 3♥
13+ Game force 1♥ - 3♥ 1♥ - 2♣ - 2♦ - 3♥
6-10 HCPs Pre-emptive
4+ trumps, unbal.
1♥ - 4♥ 1♥ - 4♥

(
Down - Up - Top)

BR 31.2 - Jacoby 2NT and the 5-4 "super fit"

When a Responder holds 4+cards support for Opener's 5+card major suit, the 9+card trump fit is a considerable positive, and with an otherwise good looking hand Responder may subtract 1 loser from the total loser count of his hand.
Such a so-called (5-4) "super fit" is worth communicating to Opener and Responder is able to do that by means of the Jacoby 2NT response.

The Jacoby 2NT response after a 1♥ or 1♠ Opening bid shows 13+ points with (usually 4+card) trump support and is forcing to Game at least.

 The Jacoby 2NT response after a 1♥ or 1♠ Opening bid shows 13+ points with (usually 4+card) trump support and is forcing to Game at least.

The Table below shows how this response fits in with the two alternative bidding approaches.

Point range Type Game Force Limit Raise
6-10 Weak response 1♥ - 2♥ 1♥ - 2♥
10-12 Invitational
8 losers exactly
1♥ - 2♣ - 2♦ - 3♥ 1♥ - 3♥
13+ Game force
3-card support
1♥ - 3♥ 1♥ - 2♣ - 2♦ - 3♥
6-10 HCPs Pre-emptive
4+ trumps, unbal.
1♥ - 4♥ 1♥ - 4♥
13+ Game force
4+card support
1♥ - 2NT 1♥ - 2NT

The 2NT Responder has no intention whatsoever to play in No Trumps. It is pure and simple a confirmation of a 5-4 super fit in the major trump suit and forces Opener to go at least to Game.

When using the Jacoby 2NT response the traditional jump shift response of 2NT (after a 1 in a suit Opening), showing a balanced hand without support for Opener's suit (and either 13-15 or 10-12 pts, depending on which system you use) can no longer be used.   With such hands bid a new suit first and at your next turn bid 2NT.

(
Down - Up - Top)

BR 31.3 - Standard replies to Jacoby 2NT

The most commonly used standard replies by the Opener to Jacoby 2NT are :

Bidding Description Example hand
1♥ - 2NT - 4♥ Minimum Opening, 12-15 pts, no singleton or void ♠ A 9     ♥ K Q 9 7 4     ♣ Q J 5 4     ♦ 9 8
1♥ - 2NT - 3NT Strong Opening, 16+ pts
no singleton or void
Weak trump suit*
♠ A 9     ♥ K J 9 7 4     ♣ K Q 5 4     ♦ K 8
1♥ - 2NT - 3♥ Strong Opening, 16+ pts
no singleton or void
Strong trump suit*
♠ A 9     ♥ K Q 9 7 4     ♣ K J 5 4     ♦ A 8
1♥ - 2NT - 3♠ New suit at the 3 level
singleton or void in the suit bid
♠ 6     ♥ K J 9 6 5     ♣ A 9 8     ♦ K Q 10 5
1♥ - 2NT - 4♣ New suit at the 4 level
2nd 5-card suit with at least 2 of the 3 top Honours in the suit bid
♠ A 9     ♥ K J 9 6 5     ♣ K Q 10 5 3     ♦6

* = a strong trump suit contains at least two of the top 3 trump honours (A K Q)

As the Responder's second bid he can :

1. Sign off in Game : with no interest in Slam.

2. Bid a new suit: which could be either a Slam Trial bid, a Cue bid or a Multi Cue.

3. bid 3NT (when available) or 4NT : RKC Blackwood.

(
Down - Up - Top)

BR 31.4 - Jacoby 2NT combined with Splinters

Besides pinpointing a singleton or a void Splinter raises show, like the Jacoby 2NT response, at least 4-card support for Opener's 5-card major suit.   These two Conventions can therefore effectively be combined in one and the same bidding system.

In such case the Jacoby 2NT response gains an additional attribute : besides showing 13+ points and 4+card trump support it also denies holding a singleton or void.
The Table below shows how these two combined Conventions fit within the two alternatives of Standard bidding.

Point range Type Game Force Limit Raise
6-10 Weak response
3+ card support
1♥ - 2♥ 1♥ - 2♥
10-12 Invitational
3+ card support
8 losers exactly
1♥ - 2♣ - 2♦ - 3♥ 1♥ - 3♥
13+ Game force
3-card support
1♥ - 3♥ 1♥ - 2♣ - 2♦ - 3♥

Point range Type Game Force Limit Raise The Three Musketeers of the 'Super Fit' 6-10 HCPs Pre-emptive4+card supportsingleton or void 1♥ - 4♥ 1♥ - 4♥ 11+ HCPs Splinter, Game force4+card supportsingleton or void in the suit bid 1♥ - 4♣ 1♥ - 4♣ 13+ Game force4+card supportno singleton or void 1♥ - 2NT 1♥ - 2NT

For example after Partner's Opening bid of 1♥ :

1. respond 2NT with :     ♠ A 9     ♥ K J 9 7     ♣ K 7 5 4     ♦ K 8 5

2. respond 3♠ with    :     ♠ 9        ♥ K J 9 7     ♣ K 7 5 4     ♦ A J 8 5

3. respond 4♥ with    :     ♠ 9        ♥ K J 9 7     ♣ K 7 5 4     ♦ J 8 5 2

Whichever of the two versions of Standard American you play (Game force jump raises or Invitation jump raises), the Jacoby 2NT and Splinters combinantion works well with either one.

(
Down - Up - Top)

BR 31.5 - Simplified Jacoby 2NT with the Limit raise (Recommended !)

Modern writers still insist that the Jacoby 2NT response must include 4-card trump support (or better) for Opener's major suit. For those players which use the 4-card major system this is of course no problem. But for 5-card major players, especially those who also use the invitational (10-12 points) jump raise response it makes much sense to waive this requirement.

By changing its trump support requirement from 4-card to 3 -card trump support (or better), the Jacoby 2NT response can be used as standard Game force response for all 13+ points trump support hands. This considerably simplifies the bidding options for those that use the Invitation jump raise response (but it of course no longer identifies the 5-4 super fit).

Point range Type Suit raise Example hand of the Responder
6-10 Weak response
3+card support
1♥ - 2♥ ♠ 9 2     ♥ Q 7 4     ♦ A J 9 2     ♣ 10 8 5 3
10-12 Invitational
"Limit raise"
8 losers exactly
1♥ - 3♥ ♠ 9 2     ♥ K J 4     ♦ A 8 6 2     ♣ Q J 7 3
13+ Game force
3+card support
1♥ - 2NT ♠ 9 2     ♥ Q J 4     ♦ A K Q 9 2     ♣ J 5 3
6-10 HCPs Pre-emptive
4+ trumps support
with singleton or void
1♥ - 4♥ ♠ 9     ♥ J 9 7 4     ♦ A Q 5 2     ♣ 10 8 5 3

Here is an alternative page 4 for the Bidding guide, with 10-12 points jump raise and a Jacoby 2NT response.

Opener's replies to Jacoby 2NT remain the standard responses.

For those who prefer to play a very basic system Opener could use the following responses :

1. 1♥ - 2NT - 4♥ = Minimum opening hand 13-15 points

2. 1♥ - 2NT - 3NT = Strong opening hand of 16+ points, weak trump suit

3. 1♥ - 2NT - 3♥ = Strong opening hand of 16+ points, at least two of the 3 top trump honours (A K Q)

 The 3NT response by the Opener (Option 2 above) is interesting as it can fulfill a double function. Firstly it shows a strong opening hand with 16+ points but with a weak 5-card trump suit. At the same time the bid may function as a 3NT RKC Blackwood asking Responder for his key cards, for with Opener's weak trump suit this would of particular importance. If you do decide to use this 3NT bid's double meaning make sure to have a clear agreement with your Partner about it.

Once you are comfortable with above options, add the following two :

1. 1♥ - 2NT - 3♦ = bid of a new suit at the 3 level shows a singleton or void in the suit bid

2. 1♥ - 2NT - 4♣ = bid of a new suit at the 4 level shows a second 5-card suit in the suit bid

Use the Jacoby 2NT only as a rersponse to a major suit opening bid.
After minor suit opening bids prefer to use the Inverted Minor responses (Lesson 34). These are much more appropriate.

(
Down - Up - Top)

BR 31.6 - Deal 145 - 152

Deals 145 - 152 are examples of bidding as outlined in this lesson.

(Up - Top - Links page)