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With no one vulnerable, partner opened 1NT (15-17) after three passes. The intervening opponent bid 2 clubs (Capelletti, a system I don't understand), except that it could indicate length in any suit.. I bid 2NT with ♠ 843 ♡Q4 ♢AK532 ♣ T32. Partner passed, and we went down one, a result I considered acceptable under the circumstances (we got an average minus score). I had predicated my 2NT bid on the fact that I had "half stoppers"* in every suit, and expected the same from partner's 1NT.

Was this an appropriate response despite the down one? The other response I considered was two diamonds, which would have interfered with their "relay." The problem is that partner and I didn't know about Capelletti, and we weren't sure about whether (transfer) systems were "on" or "off."

How should I have dealt with this bid?

*A "half stopper" is a holding in NT that will create a stopper if matched with equal or better in partner's hand. For instance, xxx is a half stopper, because if partner has xxx, the opponents will have seven cards in the suit, divided 4-3 62% of the time. My Qx of hearts would be a half stopper opposite Kx or Jxx.

1 Answer 1

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You and your partners should adopt the following agreement:

After a 1 notrump opening and interference in the direct seat of 2 clubs:

  • Double is your normal Stayman 2 club call; and
  • Everything else is on just as without the interference.

If the best interference the opponents can muster is 2 clubs showing an unspecified suit(s): ignore their call. Forget seeking penalties until they give you more information.

So on this hand your normal response is 2 notrump - which you bid. Getting an average minus probably means you lost a trick in the play, either from strong defense or a Declarer error, along with about half the field. As you don't give the full deal and play, it's hard to say more.

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    @TomAu: That's just a rub of the green. Cards lay unfortunately for you, and opponents didn't make an error. Determining that your chances on this hand are better in 4 diamonds than 2 notrump, in the absence of knowing opponent's suit, seems remote. Aug 6, 2023 at 11:38
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    So it was a case of "you pay your money, you take your chances," right? On a better day, two "half stoppers" would make a whole one, and we would take seven additional running tricks. Partner did well to pass.
    – Tom Au
    Aug 6, 2023 at 14:14
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    You don't worry about stoppers at all in this situation. When opponents overcall partner's 1NT with 2C (showing a single-suited hand with an unknown suit), you take your normal action, except that you replace 2C (Stayman) with double (also Stayman).
    – ruds
    Aug 6, 2023 at 14:58
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    As @ForgetIwaseverhere says, whenever opponents overcall partner's 1NT with 2C (regardless of its meaning) your bids should mean what they normally mean, with X standing in for 2C. You should take the meaning of opponent's bid into account when deciding what call to make (e.g. if it shows majors you probably shouldn't invite NT with xx xx KJxxx KQxx). However, when it's Capelletti 2C (showing a single unknown suit), there's no real effect on the action you should take, just as it is no longer considered optimal to require a stopper in every suit to open 1NT. Don't let them cheaply derail you.
    – ruds
    Aug 6, 2023 at 15:02
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    What this answer and my comment are telling you is that you should just ignore stoppers in suits that haven't been explicitly bid by opponents when you're making quantitative balanced bids, like opening 1NT, inviting with 2NT over 1NT, etc.
    – ruds
    Aug 6, 2023 at 19:46

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