# Should I respond to 1 NT in a suit or NT holding 17 HCP and a void?

My partner opened a "strong" one NT. I am holding:
♠ void
♥ KJxx
♦ AKQxxx
♣ KJx

What should I bid?

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If possible, this question should be edited to be more general. – Gregor Apr 29 '13 at 19:04

I would test the quality of partner's hand by bidding 2 clubs (Stayman), and hope NOT to hear 2 spades. My worst fear is that partner has wasted honors in spades. If I don't hear 2 spades, partner probably has, at most AQJ in spades. Missing the K (or more) or spades, he might be missing one of the following: A of hearts, A of clubs, or the heart and club Qs. A bid of two hearts raises the possibility of a heart contract, otherwise it would be diamonds.

If partner bids two spades or two hearts, I would show my diamonds with 3 diamonds, forcing partner to bid. Then go into Blackwood to find out how many aces are missing.

If partner had NOT bid spades at any point, I would go into seven diamonds if partner has 3 aces, six diamonds with 2, and pass five diamonds if partner showed one ace. With wasted strength in spades, I would bid only six diamonds if partner has 2-3 aces, and pass five diamonds if he has 1.

Given that we're missing at most 8 high card points, the best case is if partner is missing AKJ of spades, and the worst case is if partner is missing the A of hearts and the A of clubs.

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Now that this is open again:

Opposite a strong 1 NT, I bid 3D if it is natural, or I transfer to diamonds if that is available. If partner denies support for diamonds I bid 6D. If he shows support for diamonds I investigate 7D with what-ever methods are available to me. Consider where partner's 16 points are. An "unfortunate" hand from partner would be this: AKJx AQx xx Qxxx, and 6D is looking pretty icy even with all those wasted values in spades. In a practiced partnership I investigate grand slam even if partner denies diamond support initially.

Opposite a weak NT I will probably still end up in 6D, though I might blind the auction by jumping there in an unpracticed partnership. Why help the defence by bidding precisely when it is going to be of more help to the defence?

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You have to make a forcing bid, what you specifically bid will depend entirely on what conventions you and your partner are playing with.
Assuming you're playing with a strong 1NT opener (15-17 HCP), that means you and your partner have 32-34 HCP. Since it's 33 points for slam and you've got a void, you know you've got that. That means you have to force the bidding to continue until you get to the 6 level. Whether or not you make it go to 7, and in which specific contract you want to end up, those are things you can use all that bidding room to decide. A typical tool for this purpose is Blackwood/Gerber. With a bid suit preference, I like the additional information gathered with Roman Key Card.
Here's a nice wiki reference to help you pick a Blackwood convention to use.
Just keep in mind that unless you've got that 33 points (pretty rare) there's a good chance you're just bidding yourself into a hole. I've definitely seen players who are way too anxious to try out their Blackwood bidding!

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Yep. In my mind, Blackwood and Gerber are for when you're already confident you have the points to make slam, and need to make sure you're not missing critical aces (since you can have 33 points counting singletons, but be missing two aces). – sitnaltax Oct 9 '12 at 23:29
Absolutely. Only after you know the point count is it important to figure out how many losers you can't avoid on the lead. – Task Oct 10 '12 at 13:40
You don't know the best strain or the right level (6 or 7), so asking for controls is not the right approach. Gerber/Blackwood are for staying out of slams, or occasionally for differentiating between 6 or 7. They're extremely dangerous when you hold a void. – ruds Jun 9 '13 at 16:38

I would bid 4C (Gerber) to ask about aces. If partner has 3, bid 7D. If partner has only 2, bid 6D.

The weak point in this hand is if partner has, say, the KJ in spades; some other responder might have a fancier convention to pick out the specific high cards.

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We actually made 7 NT. I responded 3 D. My partner bid 3 NT. It was the last hand of the day so I just passed (regretfully) – Lauren Dean Oct 2 '12 at 21:22
When partner opens 1NT, the job of of finding the right contract is pretty much in your hands. Your hand is dynamite (17 HCP plus a void) so you definitely want to be in a slam; but nothing stops you from bidding it yourself. Your partner didn't have anything to say after your 3D, so just returned to 3NT; partner might have raised diamonds with a 5-card suit, or bid a 4-card major, but you didn't need that to go to slam. – sitnaltax Oct 2 '12 at 22:44
Thanks. It was the first time I had played with this group and I was a little nervous. I'll be more aggressive in the future. – Lauren Dean Oct 3 '12 at 1:15
+1 staymen first is also a possibility to reveal a potential heart fit, but I don't think it buys you much here assuming strong NT – jk. Oct 3 '12 at 12:28