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Questions for people who play 12-14 1NT

Two questions that came up in last night's KO match.

My partner and I have recently switched to playing 12-14 1NT's when white.  I asked my partner, "So when we are white, what does 1C - 1NT - 2NT show?"  He answered "18-19".  I said, "Okay, so what do do I bid if I have 15-17?"  He had no answer.

We eventually decided that, when white, we should do everything in our power *not* to respond 1NT to partner's 1m opener, even if it means manufacturing a three-card major 

Last night iI picked up:

South
643
842
Q82
QJ103
W
N
E
S
1
P
?

A five-point ten-loser hand.  Normally I'd bid 1NT, but I leave partner with an impossible problem if he has a 15-17 point hand.  And bidding 1H or 1S looked just awful on those suits with this distribution.

I ended up passing.  So did LHO, which is not a good sign.  Partner had three diamonds.  We were down one, losing against 1NT making exactly in the other room.

So what do I do with hands like the above?

Let me give you another example:

South
76
84
Q62
KQJ1032
W
N
E
S
1
P
?

What am I supposed to do with that?  Can't manufacture a 1M response.  Can't bid 2C,  Can't bid any number of diamonds.  Can't pass.  At this point all I can think of is to bid 1NT and pray that partner can figure something out.

What would you do?

 

Second question:  I held:

West
K4
Q1084
A43
J105
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
?

Over partner's weak notrump, I didn't feel like bidding.  The only way we can make game is if partner has an absolute max and a heart fit.   So I passed.

Well, guess what.  Partner had an absolute max. He made nine tricks when the Ace of spades was onside and spades broke 4-4.  However, the other table found their 4-3 heart fit, which simply needs the Ace of spades to be onside and a non-horrible heart break.  Lose seven imps.

And yet, I don't feel like I could risk stayman.  If partner doesn't have hearts, we risk going down in 2NT or 3NT when seven tricks were easily available.

Are results like that just a natural consequence of playing weak notrumps?  Or should I stretch a little with ten-point hands since 24-point games seem to be all the rage these days?

What stategy do you adopt?

 

Thanks, all.

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