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One notrump overcall
The bidding: East, with 15 points, opens one heart. East has no rebid problems because he has four clubs. East should not open his hand 1NT. If his hand was 3-5-3-2, then one notrump may be the best opening.
South overcalls 1NT which shows 15 to 18 high card points and usually two stoppers in the suit overcalled. One tends to double with four cards in the unbid major or only one stopper and three in the unbid major.
Point counters (nothing wrong with that except it is better to count tricks not points when one can) will tell me that South has only 14 points. Is AQ10 of hearts only six points? It is, unless it is over top of a heart bid, then it is three tricks (remember a trick is usually three points). It is very similar to AKQ of hearts except now the side suits are three points weaker.
One needs to remember that the 4321 point system is a guideline. The location of the outstanding points play a large role in high card evaluation.
After a notrump overcall, it is best to play systems on. Stayman and transfers are on just as if the player opened one notrump instead of overcalling one notrump.
North uses Stayman because of his four spades and partner does not deny four spades with his notrump overcall.
North and South find their way to a game in notrump.
The Lead: The four of hearts. West has not supported his partner's hearts because of a dearth of points. He has to lead the smallest heart to tell partner that he has three or more. West chooses a little heart and not top of nothing because everybody at the table knows which two hands have the heart strength.
The Jack of clubs is also a good lead because West will never get on lead again and his one point in clubs may help partner with his strength in that suit.
When a player has very few points, he always makes a point of leading the suit where his points are.
The play: Declarer will win three spades, three hearts, two diamonds and a club making his contract.
Result: 3NT= for +600
-All the bridge columns may be viewed at http://watsongallery.ca.