Breakin’ the Rules: Upgrading Into / Out of 1NT by Joshua Donn


Breakin’ the Rules:  Joshua Donn discusses various situations where an expert might decide to deviate from the  «normal» action and break the rules, for BridgeWinners

“Advanced players know the rules. Experts know when to break the rules.” – Anonymous

Most players have no qualms about upgrading their hand when appropriate, and that especially applies to opening a 15-17 NT. Whether it’s because they are aware of the many advantages to opening 1NT, or because they love declaring, upgrading has proven to be a popular strategy. Naturally, hand evaluation is paramount, but what other factors and information should weigh into these decisions? I intend to discuss a number of these factors. What shapes are best for upgrading? What positions at the table are best? How should upgrading into your 1NT range be viewed differently than upgrading out of your 1NT range? Those are all important questions, but as already mentioned, hand evaluation is the most important. So let’s look at that one first.

Hand evaluation

I believe the most common reason to upgrade is holding a good 5-card suit. There should be an emphasis on the word “good” in that description, as I often see it overlooked. Let’s take an average 14-point hand with a different amount of strength in every suit, and see what happens as we head the 5-card suit by the different holdings. First consider…

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