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 January/02/2000


JUST BRIDGE


JUST... STAYMAN

 

by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish (K-K)


 The Stayman 2 response to an opening 1NT bid is the most widely used convention in bridge.

 

 The most popular contemporary version is known as "non-forcing" Stayman.

 

 The non-forcing part does not refer to the 2 bid itself (opener must reply to it) but rather to the fact that the 2 response needn't be very strong, with responder making no commitment to bid a second time.

 

 The 1NT opener is asked to respond to the question, "do you have a four-card major?"

 

 He is restricted to the following replies:


 1) 2, artificial, denies a four-card major.
 2) 2, shows four (occasionally five) hearts and does not preclude four spades.
 3) 2, shows four spades but denies four hearts (else respond N° 2).

 Responder's most common continuations:

  • Pass (including a pass of the "no major" 2 response): shows support but denies as much as 8-9 points (i.e. game-invitational strength.

  • Two of a major: Encouraging but not forcing; at least a five-card suit.

  • 2NT: shows invitational strength and implies four cards in an unbid major(s); after a 2 reply by opener, responder's 2NT may conceal a five-card heart suit (because 3 would be forcing).

  • Three of a minor: Natural, game-forcing (often with slam interest), at least five cards in the suit.

  • Three of an unbid major: at least five cards, forcing to game.

  • Three of opener's bid major: Encouraging but not forcing, with at least four-card support.

  • Game or slam bids: signoffs.

  • Four-level jumps in new suits over 2 or 2: slam tries agreeing opener's major (some prefer to do this only with shortage in the jump-suit); over 2: there is no standard treatment; choose something that appeals to you.


Opener Responder
1NT        2
2          ?

Opener's 1NT promises 15-17 HCP. What would you bid next as responder with each of the following hands after opener's 2 reply to your Stayman 2?

 

a) KJ1054 1092 A43 76
b) KQ62 A63 KJ1098 7
c) K975 J3 Q1053 QJ6



Solutions:


a) 2. Invitational with five spades. Opener may pass, raise to 3 or 4, or bid 2NT or 3NT, depending on his strength and the degree of his spade support.


b) 3. Natural, forcing to game. Opener may sign off in 3NT, show a four-card spade suit, rebid a five-card heart suit, or move forward with support for diamonds and a hand willing to go past 3NT.


c) 2NT. Invitational with four cards in the unbid major. Opener may pass or correct to 3 (with four of those) with minimum values, or accept the invitation by bidding 3NT or 4. Some would jump to 3NT with this 9-point hand that has two fair four-card suits. It's a close decision.