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M J Bridge

Theory and Conventions

Bidding

Hands

Improvers’ methods


This page applies to that stage of your bidding career when you have added promissory four-card Stayman and transfers to your system.  If you have added anything further then you should go to the page ‘intermediate and above’.


Weak hands


Your only options other than pass are the ‘Garbage Stayman’ sequences.


With two four-card majors it is a matter of partnership agreement whether 4-4 shape is sufficient for your weak take-out manoeuvre.

If so you will bid 2 (Stayman) and follow a 2 response with 2.  Partner will correct to 2 with longer spades than hearts.


Invitational hands


This is a particularly well-trodden route.


Start with a 2 Stayman enquiry.

If partner responds in your four-card major then raise invitationally to the three-level.

Otherwise bid 2NT, showing eleven or twelve points in a balanced hand and a four-card major.


You might choose to ignore the Stayman route and bid an immediate 2NT when holding 4-3-3-3 shape with minimum ruffing potential.

Opener’s first bid

Opener’s rebid

Post-beginner and above

A 6 5 3

T 9 6 4

Q 5

Q 6 5

Partner opened 1NT.

If you play a weak take-out on 4-4 in the majors then bid 2 (Stayman) and follow a 2 response with 2, promising at least 4-4 in the majors.

A 6 5 3

T 9 6 4

Q 5

Q 6 5

Partner opened 1NT.

If you play a Stayman weak take-out to promise 5-4 in the majors then you will pass on this hand.


If you play weak take-outs only on 5-4 in the majors then in the present context of a balanced hand you will have to pass with two four-card majors.

A 6 5 3

K 9 6 4

Q 5

K 6 5

Partner opened 1NT.

Bid 2.

If partner responds in either major you will raise to three.

If partner responds 2 you will bid 2NT.


Game-going and stronger


Not very different from the above.

Unless you hold a 4-3-3-3 shape you will start with a 2 Stayman enquiry.

If partner fails to locate a fit then bid 3NT, or higher if strong enough to search for a slam in no trumps.


If partner bids your four-card major then raise to the four-level with a basic game-going hand.

With a slam interest and a fit you are severely limited by the available methods.  For the moment just bid five of the major invitationally or six of the major to play.

Note that a bid of 4NT at this point is quantitative and suggests no fit, contrary to common club usage.


Better ways of searching for a slam will be encountered when we come to look at responders’ rebid.

A 6 5 3

K 9 6 4

A 5

K 6 5

Partner opened 1NT.

Bid 2.

If partner responds in either major you will raise to four.

If partner responds 2 you will bid 3NT.

A J 5 3

K Q J 4

A 5

K Q 5

Partner opened 1NT.

Bid 2.  If partner responds in either major you will raise to five or six (further methods will be available with intermediate methods).

If partner responds 2 you will bid 4NT (quantitative inviting partner to pass or bid 6NT).

Context  -  Partner opened 1NT - RHO passed - balanced hand, one or more four-card majors.