The origin of this conventional defense method is unknown, but is closely aligned and related to the conventional methods of Michaels Cuebid and Unusual No Trump in that the defense method also communicates to partner a particular distribution.
This term refers to the specific bid of 1 No Trump, (generally restricted to the one level), of a player made between two bidding opponents after two suits have been mentioned. Generally the overcall can be made in Third Seat, but more often in Fourth Seat after partner has passed. This bid describes a distribution of 5-5 in the other two unbid suits.
Concept of the Convention
The logic and reasoning behind this method is that a natural bid of No Trump, showing a certain range, is generally risky since it is practically a given that the advancer, partner of the natural No Trump bidder, would hold an absolutely worthless hand. Therefore, the No Trump bid, sandwiched in between the two different bids of the opponents, should show distributional values instead of purely working values.
Note: A second reason for replacing the natural No Trump bid is the fact that the opponents could benefit knowing that a certain range of values are held in a certain seat, thereby providing important information regarding the level of the bidding, and ascertaining whether or not a game would be possible if the natural No Trump bid is weak.
The number of high card points required is not the more important factor although the values should normally be between 5 and 10/11 high card points, which are mainly located in the two unbid suits and represent working values.
This information, as related to the partner (advancer), can be the deciding factor in whether to sacrifice or to compete for a possibly positive score. There are many individual partnership agreements regarding a possible strictly defined range when making this bid and this is a matter of partnership agreement.
The general consensus is that the application of the bid of 1 No Trump indicates that the values are generally weaker and more distributional than generally necessary to double.
Two examples follow, and both represent the distribution needed and illustrate that the range is not strictly the deciding factor.
West North East South
5 KQ1085 83 AQJ92 1 Pass 1 1 NT
West North East South
5 QJ954 83 KQ1085 1 Pass 1 1 NT
Both examples illustrate the proper employment of this particular defense method of bidding 1 No Trump in the sandwich position.
Possible Partnership Agreements
Presently, however, the general consensus is that many bridge players, on the first example above, would prefer to double to show the other two suits and possible values close to an opening, whereas the second example would be used to imply the generally accepted range of 5-10/11 high card points. The introduction of this distinction is also only decided by the partnership.
The advancer normally makes a suit preference at the highest level which, if doubled, will not cost more than the opponents' expected game or part-score. If the advancer cuebids, this shows equal values in the suit of the overcaller, and asks the overcaller to bid the better one. If the advancer decides to pass, then this pass promises working values and stoppers in the two suits bid by the opponents.
The general consensus is also that when the player in the fourth seat, after partner has passed, actually holds values for a No Trump opening, then pass is the preferable action since the partner will hold insufficient values to compete.
The question always arises as to the pattern of the Sandwich No Trump bidder, just as the question is also pertinent when employing the Michaels Cuebids or the Unusual No Trump conventional defense methods. A general guideline is to employ the method to show a 5-5 distribution when vulnerable versus non-vulnerable and relax the distribution to a minimum of 5-4 by equal or favorable vulnerability.
If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.
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