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M J Bridge

Bidding

Hands

Partner bid Stayman


Using just improvers’ methods partner’s Stayman request will be of the four-card promissory variety.


For alternative versions see intermediate and beyond.


Partner’s bid may be made on a hand which is any one of:-


invitational or better with one or more four-card majors;

invitational - 5-4 in the majors;

weak - 5-4 in the majors;

weak with short clubs.


It matters not at this stage of the auction.


At its simplest:-


if you have a four-card major you bid it - suit quality is not a consideration;

otherwise you bid 2.


After that partner will show the nature of his hand with either a pass or a further bid.

Post-beginner and above

This page last updated 16th Oct 2019

Context  -  You opened 1NT - LHO passed - improvers’ methods.

Q 3

K J T

K 9 5 4

A 8 5 2

Bid 2.

You don’t have a four-card major so there is no other choice.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO

1NT

-

2

-

?








Q 3

K 9 5 4

K J T

A 8 5 2

Bid 2.

You have one four-card major so you bid it.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO

1NT

-

2

-

?








A K 8 5 2

A 5 4

T 8 2

K 3

Bid 3 except possibly when vulnerable against not.

If partner has eleven points, three spades and a weak suit this will be exactly what he wants to hear.  If his is a garbage sequence then 3 will be an excellent competitive contract more often than not.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO

1NT

-

2

-

?








A K 5 2

K 9 5 4

T 8 2

A 3

Bid 2, if playing promissory Stayman.

If partner bids 2NT then bid 4.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO

1NT

-

2

-

?









There are, though, two specific circumstances which require a moment’s further thought.


Four-four in the majors


The traditional advice is that you should always bid hearts first when holding both majors.

This approach certainly makes for a straightforward method and may well be your choice.


I have a slight preference for the alternative which is to bid your better major.  It might for example suggest a lead in defence, or it might indicate the possibility of a solid suit.


Half the time you will find yourself bidding hearts as before.


The rest of the time you will prefer to bid spades.

In this case, if partner has a weak take-out with both majors then he will pass and no harm has been done.

Alternatively partner will hold invitational or better values and will either raise your suit or bid 2NT or 3NT, after which you can bid the other major at the three- or four-level based on his ‘promise’.


Five-card major


This is by no means universal, but my guidance is that with fourteen points (or a good thirteen) you should jump in your five-card major.


The main concern over opening 1NT with a five-card major is the fear that you might never get to show this feature - here is one of two ways in which you can pass on the news in a game-going auction.  (The other is when partner makes a limit raise to 2NT, either directly or indirectly.)


Such an action might feel dangerous at first, but on further consideration you will realise that the risks are not that great, and this might be your only opportunity to show this feature.


Usually partner will have invitational values, in which case the worst that can happen is that you find yourselves in a three-level contract on a 5-2 fit and twenty four points - not that terrible a fate.


Alternatively partner might have been instigating a ‘garbage Stayman’ sequence.

If this was based on a hand which was 5-4 (or even 4-4) in the majors then you will have bid to the level of the nine-card fit.

If his bid was of the ‘short club garbage Stayman’ variety then usually he will hold four cards in your major for a nine-card fit as above, but once in a while he will hold something like a 4-3-5-1 shape and you will find yourself at the three-level on a 5-3 fit and less than half the points in the pack.  Much of the time this will be a good contract, especially if your opponents have a game contract on.


Perhaps you should exercise a little caution when vulnerable - particularly when vulnerable against not at pairs - but in general this jump rebid will constitute good bridge.

My inclination is to make such a bid, when appropriate, at all vulnerabilities.

Responder’s first bid