M J Bridge

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Theory and Conventions

Hand

A6

Context

Staffordshire v Oxfordshire - September 2008

Dealer

North

Methods

Stayman, weak take-out 5-4 in the majors, weak take-out,

Vulnerability

Both


4-4 in the majors

Opening 1NT, Stayman, weak take-out on 5-4 shape

1NT will be more or less universal from North and the vast majority of Easts will pass.  2 from South with a 2 response from North should be the norm.

If South sees his hand as insufficient for a game-try he will then escape to a major.

Playing a simple method he will rebid 2 promising at least five spades and four hearts in a weak hand.

W

N

E

S


1NT

-

2

-

2

-

2

-

-

-



N

Q 8 5

A 5 2

J T 2

A K 7 2


S

K T 9 7 6 2

K T 8 7

Q 8

4


W

A

6

A 9 7 6 4

J T 9 8 6 5


E

J 4 3

Q J 9 4 3

K 5 3

Q 3

Opening 1NT, Stayman, weak take-out on 4-4 shape

If the NS agreed method is to play a weak take-out on 4-4 shape in the majors then South will have to rebid 2 to show such a holding.

With three-card support North will pass.

W

N

E

S


1NT

-

2

-

2

-

2

-

-

-


Opening 1NT, Stayman, simple invitational five-card suit

If South sees his eight points with intermediates and shape as invitational then the basic method of showing a five-card major and invitational values is to start with a Stayman enquiry and then jump to three of the major.

With a maximum and three-card support North will raise to the game.

W

N

E

S


1NT

-

2

-

2

-

3

-

4

-

-

Opening 1NT, Quest transfers

This is a little known but excellent method for showing both invitational and game-going hands which are 5-4 in the majors.

South follows his Stayman enquiry with a three-level transfer into spades promising five spades and at least invitational values.  North should accept the invitation.

W

N

E

S


1NT

-

2

-

2

-

3

-

4

-

-

Opening 1NT, Smolen

Smolen is a common method on the tournament circuit for showing a game-going hand 5-4 in the majors.  It creates a difficulty in showing invitational hands.

One solution is to harness the sequence shown to show an invitational hand with five spades and another four-card suit.  Clearly you will not then be able to use this sequence to show a weak hand with 5-4 shape.

W

N

E

S


1NT

-

2

-

2

-

2

-

4

-


Opening 1NT, Stayman, unusual 2NT

West’s hand is a classic unusual 2NT showing a weak hand with at least 5-5 in the two lowest unbid suits.

North will have nothing to say at this point, and East will have little difficulty in showing his preference.

South must now choose between 3 and 4.  If the choice is 3 North will usually raise to the game.

W

N

E

S


1NT

-

2

2NT

-

3

3

-

4

-


What happens?


Two top diamonds followed by a heart lead from West give declarer some difficulty in setting up his tenth trick in spades.

In the match three pairs bid and made 4, whilst another pair made ten tricks in 3.  A further six pairs made nine tricks in either 3 or 4.

Meanwhile 3 by EW will usually make nine tricks when two rounds of trumps followed by a play on the clubs should set up club winners whilst still retaining control.


The simple conclusion is that at teams South should value his hand as invitational after which the game contract will be found.

At pairs South will do better to value his hand as weak rather than try for the thin game.

West should interfere if he has an unusual 2NT available after which South will find it difficult to finish in the best pairs contract of 3.

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