A direct overcall of 1NT over an opening bid of one of a suit shows a generally balanced hand, 16-18 points (or a good 15) and at least one stopper in your opponents' suit. This strong bid gives partner critical information about your hand, helping them to decide on the best contract. In general the responses are the same as over a 1NT opening - although if you play Acol you need to account for partner holding around 4 extra points.
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