M J Bridge

Theory and Conventions



Non-promissory four-card Stayman

If and when you choose to use the 2NT response as your transfer into diamonds you will find that the natural invitational limit raise to 2NT is no longer available.

To replace this bid it will be necessary to incorporate an artificial sequence.

The simplest option to fill the gap is

Non-promissory Stayman

The most common solution is to play that 2 followed by a rebid of 2NT from responder is no longer promissory - i.e. the Stayman bid no longer guarantees a four-card major suit.  It might merely be a mechanism to show a limit raise based on eleven or twelve points.

A J 2

9 8 5

A J 8 6

Q 8 7 3

Partner opened 1NT.

If playing non-promissory Stayman, bid 2.

You will rebid 2NT over any response, showing invitational values whilst not promising a four-card major.

Intermediate and above

Opener’s first bid

Opener’s rebid

In general you will set out on this route whenever you hold eleven or more points in a balanced hand, but exactly the same considerations will apply, particularly in respect of raising on just eleven points, as when considering a natural limit raise to 2NT.

Note that, when playing non-promissory Stayman, your bid of 2 still asks partner for four-card majors in the first instance, and partner’s first response will be exactly the same as if playing the promissory version.

Note also that nothing else changes - both constructive and garbage sequences are still available as when playing four-card promissory Stayman.

It is worth pointing out that if the Stayman enquiry is followed by a jump to 3NT then the sequence is promissory - there would be no point in following the Stayman route otherwise.

This page last revised 22nd Oct 2019

Context  -  Partner opened 1NT - RHO passed - intermediate and beyond - available bids - Stayman variations.

An alternative method of showing an invitational raise is ‘Marx-Sharples transfers’.

Partner opened 1NT.

Fifteen points in a balanced hand with a four-card major.

Bid 2 whichever version of Stayman you might be playing.

If partner responds 2 or 2 you will rebid 3NT.  Partner will correct to 4 if holding four hearts and four spades.

A 9 8 3

A 7 2

K Q 5 3

Q 2