1[Club]—10 1[Diamond]—8 1[Spade]—5 1 N.T.—minus 1
When you open one no trump you notify partner that the upper limit of your hand is 18 high-card points. You must also count your distributional points, if any, to make sure that it does not exceed 18. If partner holds fewer than eight points, he will know that your combined total will be less than the 26 required for game. If you bid one no trump with more than 18, partner will pass with many hands that offer a reasonable play for game. We prefer a club opening followed by a two-no-trump rebid over any one-level response, including one no trump. Since your jump to two no trump shows 19 to 20 points, partner will continue bidding with anything more than a six-point minimum.
3 N.T.—10 2[Club]—7 2 N.T.—4 pass—1
Although you have only nine high-card points and your combined total may be only 25, you hold such fine intermediate cards that you should have a good play for game even opposite a 16-point minimum. With no ruffing values, there is little point to bidding two clubs in search of a spade fit; however, you may be intending to bid three no trump next anyway, so the award schedule gives two clubs the benefit over a timid two no trump. The point for a pass reflects my holiday spirit and is also a sop for the one time in 10 that three no trump might be defeated.
2 N.T.—10 4[Spade]—7 3 N.T.—6 3[Spade]—2
With such excellent holdings to be led up to in the unbid suits, your hand is apt to produce as many tricks at no trump as it is at spades. You should therefore attempt to get this message across to partner by trying for game at no trump. Two no trump gives partner three options: three no trump, three spades and four spades, any of which you will pass. Of the two slight overbids given credit, the jump to game at spades is more justified by the extra point for your doubleton club. And the two points awarded three spades is to cover both the diffidence of lady partners and the caution of buck passers who know that their partners sometimes bid much too much. A pass, however, is too craven for any credit, even at Christmas time.