Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

More Stayman – I Like It

Isabelle has made a lot of contributions to our system.  In some cases we had to pick – her way or my way and we did some of both.  This wasn’t always because one was better than the other, it was just because we had to chose.  SI liked some of the things she wanted to play because they made us more aggressive and more difficult to play against: things like 10-12 notrump multi with 2M showing 5+Major 5+minor and so on.

When we have looked at the technical aspects of the system such as how we wanted to play forcing and nonforcing Stayman or what to do over

1 of a minor – 1 of a major -1NT there was a lot of discussions as well as consultation with others.  But Isabelle also brought a lot of great ideas to our partnership.  One I like the best came from one of the Zaluski’s I can’t remember which right now.  It is simple but adds a lot so I thought I would share it.  Here it goes:

Over 2NT followed by Stayman, responder can bid Stayman again for more information.  Here is an example:

2NT-3C-3D-4C: more Stayman – tell me more about your distribution)

4D 5 card minor somewhere (relay to find minor)

4H  3 hearts and therefore 2-3-4-4

4S 3 spades 3-2-4-4

4NT 4-3-3-3 with a 4 card minor

2NT-3C-3H or 3S-4C

After a major suit responses show either a side minor suit or that the major is 5 cards

4D 4 card minor somewhere (relay to find the minor)

4of the M shows a 5 card suit

4S after responder shows hearts shows 4-4

4NT shows 4-3-3-3

It has come up a few times in practice and once in a game.  What do you think?


Roy HughesDecember 28th, 2007 at 12:10 pm

There is only so much that can be said about a convention like ‘More Stayman’ in isolation. What matters is the efficiency of the entire structure over 2NT openings. One question to ask yourself is how is responder to bid a hand like
♠ K 4 ♥ A J 4 2 ♦ 8 7 ♣ K 8 6 3 2
Playing without prior discussion, I would respond three clubs to a two notrump opening (let’s say it shows 20-21). If partner then bids three diamonds or three spades, I would follow with four clubs, natural. If opener does not have four hearts, then our slam prospects will depend largely on opener’s club fit and overall controls. I very much need to ask his opinion. If he signs off in four notrump I will pass, somewhat reluctantly, but if he cuebids or raises clubs I will go on to slam.

I believe partnerships should work very hard at their natural auctions before adding more conventions. Natural dialogues, where each partner describes, are sometimes undervalued by the bridge public. They can be effective but they need work. For example, if you play 2N-3♣;3♥-4♣ as natural, you have to know what opener’s continuations are. Is 4♦ natural, a four-card suit, which would be of particular interest to a responder who has four diamonds and five clubs? Or is it a cuebid showing club support? The best account of slam bidding I ever read was in a book from the 1970’s: “Slam Bidding” by Hugh Kelsey.

lindaDecember 31st, 2007 at 2:41 am

Any time you use a bid as a convention you give something up. I understand that. A lot of the time after a 2NT opener partner’s shape is more important than how much she likes her hand. It is true that partner’s 20 can have more controls or be more quacky but it is pretty hard to come up with a 20 count that doesn’t have quite a few controls. You already know partner’s point count within 1 point and you are about to learn her distribution so while you may still have a few questions you are usually going to be well placed to play the contract. Playing natural bidding it may be harder to find out what you need to know about partner’s distribution. That’s why I think that this is a pretty good time for a convention.

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