Join Bridge Winners
Would you open 1NT with a void?

Before you scream heresy at me let me explain where I’m coming from. Let’s say we’re playing a 15-17 HCP 1NT opener, balanced hand, in the context a standard or 2/1 5-card major system. Let’s assume we’re playing in a jurisdiction where opening 1NT with a small singleton, not necessarily the ace or king or queen, is allowed by the laws. My understanding is that if your hand is in range and has 4-4-4-1 shape with a small singleton club most BWers would open 1NT. Same with 5431 shape or even 6331. Furthermore, the singleton could be anywhere.

Sooner or later you’ll pick up an in-range hand with 4-4-5-0 or 4-4-0-5 shape. Are you tempted to open 1NT? If you open 1m, do you anticipate a potential rebid problem? Would you prefer opening 1NT to “get it off your chest”. Personally, I don’t see much difference between 4441 and 4450; if we allow one then why not the other? In fact, the hand with a 5-card suit has a greater potential of no-trump tricks. So it makes sense, bridgewise.

I am not advocating opening a conventional or artificial 1NT. I am assuming a balanced pattern for 99% of the time and no change in the response structure and I am assuming we make an exception only occasionally when we hold a singleton. I am simply extending the concept to a void, i.e., hands with a rebid problem, not two-suited hands with, say, 5530 shape and no rebid problems. No Strong Club system to escape the question. Also, I am assuming that with a 5-card major in hand the opening would be 1M and the rebid in a 4-card suit and we take it from there.

Several factors may influence you decision to open 1NT or not, such as position, vulnerability, type of scoring and the void suit. In the following options I used the word would to indicate that you might open 1NT in some situations but you don’t necessarily always do so systemically and systematically. When all conditions are met (although I am more interested in your comments and opinions than in the poll results) please choose one:

1. I would never open 1NT with a void, period.
2. I would open 1NT only when the void is in a minor.
3. I would open 1NT only when the void is in a major.
4. I would open 1NT regardless of the void suit.
5. Other.

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