The Unusual 2NT overcall is used after the opponents open the bidding. A 2NT overcall is artificial, showing the two lowest unbid suits (at least 5-5 shape). There is no point minimum, although obvious factors like vulnerability should be considered. See also the Michaels cuebid, a complementary convention for showing 5-5 hands, and Unusual vs. Unusual, a defense to the Unusual 2NT.


Unusual 2NT Overcalls

  • A 2NT overcall of 1 shows 5+ diamonds and 5+ hearts.

  • A 2NT overcall of 1 shows 5+ clubs and 5+ hearts.

  • A 2NT overcall of 1 shows 5+ clubs and 5+ diamonds.

  • A 2NT overcall of 1 shows 5+ clubs and 5+ diamonds.


The Unusual 2NT is possible if one or both opponents have bid:

7
9
AJT84
KJ982

Opponent 1  
1

Partner  
Pass

Opponent 2  
1

Overcaller  
2NT (1)


(1) 2NT shows 5+ clubs and 5+ diamonds. Note that this is an overlap with the Michaels cue bid here - a 2 overcall would also show 5+ clubs and 5+ diamonds. Also, note that the overcaller could alternatively make a takeout double, which would imply lesser shape and at least ~12 HCP.


7
A9832
AJT842
J

Opponent 1  
1

Partner  
Pass

Opponent 2  
1NT

Overcaller  
2NT (1)


(1) 2NT shows 5+ diamonds and 5+ hearts.


Partner's Responses

  • Partner usually bids the suit that he has the most tolerance for. With equal length in both suits, especially with two doubletons, he bids the cheapest suit.

    General Note: When responding to the Unusual 2NT with equal length in both advertised suits, bid the cheapest suit first, e.g. 3 with xx Kx. You can run to diamonds if the opponents double.

  • If partner has a weak hand with at least four-card support, he can consider making a preemptive jump bid:


    Opponent 1  
    1

    Overcaller  
    2NT

    Opponent 2  
    Pass

    Partner  
    4


    4 is preemptive and non-forcing, promising at least four clubs.

  • With a good hand, partner can cue bid the opponents' suit. This typically shows support for at least one of partner's suits, and interest in game or slam. A cue bid is forcing for one round and asks the 2NT bidder to bid his cheapest suit at the cheapest level with a weak hand (around 0-10 points), or to make any other bid with a "fair" hand (around 10+ points).

  • If by chance partner bids the "fourth suit", i.e. the suit not bid by the opponents or shown by partner, that bid is natural and nonforcing, showing a very good suit (usually 6+ cards), a decent hand, and no support for either of the 2NT bidder's suits.


Rebids by the 2NT Bidder

Raises are natural and non-forcing. All other bids show a very good hand (in terms of points and/or shape) but, with the exception of a cue bid, are non-forcing.


Other Considerations

  • The Unusual Notrump is a useful convention because:

    • it immediately shows partner a specific two-suited hand that would otherwise take two bids to illustrate.
    • it preempts the opponents.
    • it only gives up a natural 20-21 HCP 2NT overcall, which virtually never occurs and can still be shown with a takeout double and 2NT rebid anyway.

  • A 2NT overcall of 1NT needs to be defined by partnership agreement. In some conventional 1NT defenses like Cappelletti, a 2NT overcall does show the 2 lowest suits (clubs and diamonds). In other conventions like DONT, however, a different overcall such as 2 is used to show clubs and diamonds.

  • A 2NT overcall of artificial opening bids such as a Precision 1 also needs to be defined by partnership agreement.

  • The Unusual 2NT works well in conjunction with the Michaels cue bid, which is another convention for two-suited overcalls.

  • There is also a conventional defense against the Unusual 2NT called Unusual vs. Unusual.


Additional Examples

The Unusual 2NT is also in effect if both opponents have bid up to 2:

6
KT9832
QJT93
2


Opponent 1  
1

Partner  
Pass

Opponent 2  
2

Overcaller  
2NT (1)

(1) 2NT shows 5+ diamonds and 5+ hearts.


AQJ872
32
void
KQJT9

Opponent 1  
1

Partner  
Pass

Opponent 2  
2

Overcaller  
2NT (1)


(1) 2NT shows 5+ clubs and 5+ spades. Be careful after an opposing 2-over-1 sequence. The opponents have announced that they have the majority of points, so an Unusual 2NT overcall typically promises extra length or strength, especially at equal or unfavorable vulnerability.


J83
void
AJT93
KQJT9

Opponent 1  
2 (strong)

Overcaller  
2NT (1)


(1) Over a strong two-bid by the opponents, a 2NT overcall is Unusual. Here, 2NT shows 5+ clubs and 5+ diamonds.


Q63
AT987
AJT93
void

Opponent 1  
2 (Precision)  

Overcaller  
2NT (1)


In the Precision bidding system, an opening 2 bid shows 6+ clubs and 11-15 HCP. It therefore fits the definition of "a natural, constructive two-bid", so a 2NT overcall is the Unusual 2NT, showing 5+ diamonds and 5+ hearts.


AQ63
KJ3
K32
AT9

Opponent 1  
2 (weak)

Overcaller  
2NT (1)


(1) This is not the Unusual 2NT, because 2 is preemptive, not constructive. 2NT shows a balanced, natural ~16-19 HCP.

See also

  • Colorful Cue Bid
    An older, conventional cuebid to show a two-suited hand based on suit color.

  • Copenhagen
    A set of specialized jump overcalls that show two-suited hands.

  • Ghestem
    An overcall structure for showing any type of two-suited hand.

  • Leaping Michaels
    An extension of the Michaels convention for use after an opposing weak two.

  • Michaels Cue Bid
    A cuebid of an opposing suit to show a two-suited hand.

  • Roman Jump Overcalls
    A set of 2-level jump overcalls that show two-suited hands.

  • Sandwich No-trump
    A 1NT overcall that shows a weak two-suited hand.

  • Unusual vs. Unusual
    A conventional defense employed by the opening side after the opponents use the Unusual 2NT.

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