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What does 5NT mean?
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I know what you're thinking. It depends. It depends on the prior auction and partnership agreements, etc. Obviously this is true. I just wanted to write a fun article about one of the most uncommon bids in bridge that has been coming up a lot lately.

Back in late April, I was playing in the District 14 GNT Finals Flight A with my regular partner, Richard Lawson. The game was going fairly well, when I picked up:

South
A4
AK106
KQ7
AKQ9
W
N
E
S
P
P
2
P
2NT
P
5NT
?

I can see from my hand that partner has the DA and SK, so now I can count 10 tricks with lots of chances for more, and we have a combined minimum HCP of 32.

However, my hand is so strong (see 9 and 10), that I decide to bid 5NT. This particular auction had not been discussed, but it seems analogous to the std 1N (0r 2N) - 5N, forcing to 6NT and inviting 7. My partner took it to mean this and simply bid 6NT. The entire hand:

West
1065
QJ5
1098643
3
North
KJ83
974
A5
10762
East
Q972
832
J2
J854
South
A4
AK106
KQ7
AKQ9
W
N
E
S
P
P
2
P
2NT
P
5NT
P
6NT
P
P
P
D
6NT North
NS: 0 EW: 0

He figured he had shown me everything with his first bid, and SJ is not enough extra to bid to 7. Partner ended up making 6 on the proven club finesse and hearts behaving.

(Note: Richard mentioned this hand in a previous BridgeWinners article).

Well, last Friday night I played in a club game with a small field but with above average strength. I was playing with a different partner with whom I have played several times, but not for a couple of years. He is very experienced and has read a lot, so I can usually trust him to understand "standard" bids, even if undiscussed.

Early in the evening, I pick up:

North
A9752
KQ102
K5
42
W
N
E
S
1
1
1
2
3
P
4NT
P
5NT
?

Now, the standard response structure to 4NT usually has it that 5NT shows an even number of key cards with a void(some say useful void). I know the bid but I think it has only come up once or twice in my life. I bid 6S, and lo and behold, partner has what I thought he had:

West
QJ
AJ743
A1064
76
North
A9752
KQ102
K5
42
East
84
9865
Q72
J1053
South
K1063
J983
AKQ98
W
N
E
S
1
1
1
2
3
P
4NT
P
5NT
?
D

E led the 4 - 3 - Q - A. Now I have a guess in trumps. If W started with stiff Q, then a finesse is in order. If he started with QJ, then I need to play for the drop. Here the drop is correct because if I try the finesse and I'm wrong, then I'm down immediately. If I try the drop and I'm wrong, I still have chances if clubs are 3-3. So I pick up the trumps, play 3 rounds of clubs, and when W shows out I can pitch a heart and lead a diamond to the K, ruff a, ruff a establishing the 13th club, and concede a to make 6.

(Notice that I have 5 wasted HCP in .

Later in the evening:

I am North on this hand:

North
KJ103
AKQJ7432
J
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
1
3
4
4NT
P
5NT
?

Are you kidding me? Once again, 5NT showing even number of key cards and a useful void. This time it's me making the bid and I am certain partner will interpret it correctly. This is the third or fourth time this has come up in my life, and the second time tonight. Partner easily makes 7 when opening leader doesn't find a club lead to his partner's Ace.

Then, in the same night, I am sitting E:

East
KJ76
AQ10
AKQJ
A6
W
N
E
S
P
P
2
P
2
P
2NT
P
3
P
3
P
3NT
P
?

As I mentioned, we haven't played for a while, and I don't know what to do with this hand. I bet you're thinking I'm going to bid 5N! No, I need to show my spades, and my strength at the same time. So I try 5S. Now partner bids:

East
KJ76
AQ10
AKQJ
A6
W
N
E
S
P
P
2
P
2
P
2NT
P
3
P
3
P
3NT
P
5
P
5NT

So, back to the title of the article: What does 5NT mean??

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