Disturb the Opponents NoTrump

Defensive Bidding Over 1NT
Take your choice... There are easily a dozen popular methods for bidding after an opponent opens 1NT, and most of them approach the problem by trying to show either a two-suited hand or a 6-card suit.  Let's look at the problems they have.

DONT is one of many popular methods for defending against an opening bid of 1NT and a lot of your opponents play it, so what is it?

This is a brief description...

Opponent     Overcaller     Meaning
    1NTDouble Generally shows a one-suited hand with a 6-card suit
    2 Two suited with clubs and a higher ranking suit
    2 Two suited with diamonds and a higher ranking suit
    2 Two suited with hearts and spades
    2 One suited with a 6-card spade suit
(A double followed by a spade bid is stronger than a direct spade bid)

When your partner uses a DONT overcall and you would prefer to play in his higher suit the agreement is that you will bid the next ranking suit as an Asking Bid

Okay, you have agreed to play DONT with a new partner and you pick up this awful hand...

The lady on your left is the dealer and she opens 1NT, overcalled by your partner who bids 2 showing clubs and an unknown higher suit.  Fortunately you have a club fit so with only three points you pass, right?  Did you notice the look on your partner's face when you put down the dummy?  Want to guess what his higher suit is?

But if you had asked about the second suit it surely would have been spades.  And that, my friend, is the problem with DONT.  Partner's second suit is unknown and you cannot make an intelligent decision if you are in the dark.

But sometimes that's also an advantage!  With this hand the opponents must have a spade fit, but the old guy on your right didn't know what your partner's second suit was either and was reluctant to bid, so they didn't find their best contract... But neither did you.

Defense to DONT
What should the opening bidder's partner do to find the spade contract?  Nothing is perfect, of course, but every agreement will help.  With that in mind, consider this:
  • Double is a balanced 8+ points
  • Bidding a suit shows shortness in that suit and implies at least 5-4 in the two remaining suits.
Pretty simple, but it won't come up very often so many players are prone to forgetting infrequent agreements.  If you play this, be sure to remind your partner once in a while.  It's also not perfect as responder often does not have a 5-4 hand but may have 5-3-3-2 shape and may have to wait for his next turn to bid.  Do your best!

Better than DONT
Tell your partner you do not want to play the DONT convention and that you have a better way - Modified Brozel.  This convention eliminates the unknown second suit so you always know what your partner is holding.  This is the structure:

Opponent     Overcaller     Meaning
    1NT    2 Two suited with clubs and hearts
    2 Two suited with diamonds and hearts
    2 Natural with hearts
    2 Natural with spades
Double Generally shows a one-suited hand with a 6-card suit minor or spades and a minor
(After a double partner is required to bid 2 so the overcaller can bid his suit
- A rebid of 2 shows a two suited hand with spades and a minor)

If you would like a more complete explanation of the DONT convention, try:  

Roy Wilson