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8. Stayman, Transfer and Other Conventions

Note: See Section-10 to practise conventions. You can also find some more conventions at "Advanced Bridge" section)

8.1 Stayman

Stayman is 2 response to partner's 1 NT opening.

When parner opened 1NT, if you have an unbalanced hand 8+ points, the best way to win more tricks is looking for 8 card major fit. There are two important conventions that we must use for this purpose in responding to 1 NT openings: Stayman and Jacoby Transfers..

The Stayman is used in response to NT opening. It asks partner if she has four card major. In order to ask to a 1 NT opener if she has four card major suit or not, you apply Stayman by simply responding 2. 2 response to 1NT requests opener to bid his lower-ranking four-card major.

1 NT opener rebids her four card major to your 2 response. If opener does not have any 4-card major suit, her rebid will be 2 . In short,

Stayman is a convention which is used in response to NT openings when you have one or two 4-card major. In order to apply Stayman, you must have at least  eight points and at least one 4 card major suit. You can still apply Stayman with 5-4 majors...

  You can also make Stayman if your partner opens the bidding with 2 NT. In this case your response will be 3 on 2 NT opening. The biddings are same except levels.

Avoid Stayman if you have less then 8 points..

In response to Stayman, opener shows 4-card major suit. With four cards in both majors opener bids hearts first. Without any 4-card major opener bids 2

Stayman can be employed with,
One four card major,
Two four card majors
One five card major and one four card major
containing hands.
You can even apply Stayman with one six card major and one 4 card major..

InWith 10+ HCP and one (or two) 4-card major suit,responder must always use STAYMAN.. 

If Responder has 8-9 points and 4-3-3-3 type balanced hand does not use Stayman. He prefers to bid 2NT (invitation to 3NT game contract) .. Because, without any shortness in our hand finding a major fit will not bring any ruffing power. Don't apply Stayman with 7 and less HCP..  

8.1.1  Rebids After Opener's Negative Rebid

2  rebid from 1 NT opener is negative rebid. Indicating no 4-card major.. Responder must show invitation values (8-9 points) by rebiding 2NT, game values (10-15 points) by rebiding 3NT:

8.1.1.1 If Responder Has 8-9 (Invitational) Points

Opener's bid Responder's bid
(with 8-9 points)
Opener's rebid Responder's rebid
(with 8-9
points)
Description
1NT  2 2 2 NT
with 4-4
and
2 of the
five card
suit with
5-4
Opener does not have any 4-card major.
Responder Rebids:
With 4-4 majors:

Responder rebids  2 NT with 8-9 points. This is invitation call: Opener can pass with minimum (15 Points) and raise to 3NT with (17).. If opener has 16 points, opener evalute her hand with abundance of 10s and 9s...
With 5-4 majors:

Responder bids his five card major at the two level. In this case opener will picture your hand as:
a- You have five card of that suit, if you had majors 4-4, you should bid 2NT.. b- You have 8-9 invitation points, if you had 10-15 game values you would bid your major at the third level.. c- You also have 4 cards in the unbid major: If you had less than four cards in the other major, you would apply transfer, not STAYMAN..
After all these judgements opener, can pass with minumum NT and without 3-card support in responder's five card major suit. Raising in game also depends on opener's support and his NT point range... For example with a 3-3-5-2 distribution 1NT opener may prefer to play in responder's major suit..
Examples

8.1.1.2 If Responder Has 10-15 (Game) Points

Opener's
bid
Responder's bid
(with 10-15 points)
Opener's rebid Responder's rebid
(with 10-15
points)
 
Description
1NT  2 2 3 NT
with 4-4
and
3 of the
five card
suit with
5-4
Opener does not have any 4-card major.
Responder Rebids:
With 4-4 majors:

Responder rebids  3 NT with 10-15 points. Opener must pass
With 5-4 majors:

Responder bids his five card major at the three level. In this case opener will picture your hand as:
a- You have five card of that suit, if you had majors 4-4, you should bid 3NT.. b- You have 10-15 game points, if you had 8-9 invitational values you would bid your major at the second level.. c- You also have 4 cards in the unbid major: If you had less than four cards in the other major, you would apply transfer, not STAYMAN..

After all these judgements opener, can coorect to 3NT without support. Opener can bid four of the partner major with 3 card support. Or opener can bid the other major if he has 4 cards in the other major.
Examples

Please click on the box for a Stayman example:....

 
8.1.2 Rebids After Opener's Positive Rebids 

2 or 2   rebid from 1 NT opener is positive rebid. Indicating major suit with  4-card. If your partner holds both majors, she will bid 2 first. She will show her spades later.
2 rebid from 1 NT opener shows 4 cards in hearts ( may also hold four spades)
2 rebid from 1 NT opener shows 4 cards in spades ( but not four cards in hearts)

8.1.2.1 If Responder Has 8-9 (Invitational) Points

Opener's
bid
Responder's bid
(with 8-9 points)
Opener's rebid Responder's rebid
(with 8-9
points)
Description
1NT  2

 

 

 2  

 

 

(If suit fits)
3  

*

(If suit does not fit)
2 NT

**

2  rebid from opener shows his 4-card major suit. In this case, if responder's 4-card major  is also heart, he bids  3. If responder's 4-card major is not same as opener's 4-card major, responder's rebid is 2 NT with 8-9 points.

* Responder shows 8-9 points. Opener's rebid is "Pass" with minimum (15-16 points) balanced hand and 4 with maximum (16-17 points) balanced hand.

** Responder must have 4-card in spades.. 
a) Opener can pass with minimum hand or declare 3  according to the no of cards in spades and weakness of doubleton suit..
b) Opener can bid 3 NT with maximum hand or declare 4  according to no of cards in spades and the weakness of doubleton suit..

1 NT   


2

 

 

 

 




2  

 

 

 

 

(If suit fits)
3

 

*

(If suit does not fit)
2 NT

**
2   rebid from opener shows his 4-card major suit. In this case, if responder's 4-card major is also spade, he bids 3 . If responder's 4-card major is not same as opener's 4-card major, responder's rebid is 2 NT with 8-9 points.

* Responder shows 8-9 points. Opener's rebid is "Pass" with minimum (15-16 points) balanced hand and 4 with maximum (16-17 points) balanced hand.

** Responder must have 4 cards in hearts.. 
a) Opener can pass with minimum hand..
b) Opener can bid 3 NT with maximum hand..

Example:

Q J 5 
K J 9 7
A J 2
A 8 5

K 8 7 2
A 10 8 3 

J 10 6  2
Auction:
W N E S
1NT Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
4 Pass Pas Pass

 8.1.2.2 If Responder Has 10-15 (Game) Points

Opener's
bid
Responder's bid
(with 10-15 points)
Opener's rebid Responder's rebid
(with 10-15
points)
Description
1NT  2  2  

(If suit fits)
4  

(If suit does not fit)
3 NT

2    rebid from opener shows his  4-card major suit.. In this case, if responder's 4-card major is same as opener's 4-card major, responder's rebid is 4 with 10-15 points. If opener's 4-card major suit is not same as responder's 4-card major suit, responder rebids 3 NT.
1 NT 2 2  

(If suit fits)
 4

(If suit does not fit)
3 NT
2    rebid from opner shows his  4-card major suit.. In this case, if responder's 4-card major is same as opener's 4-card major, responder's rebid is 4 with 10-15 points. If opener's 4-card major suit is not same as  responder's 4-card major suit, responder's rebid is 3 NT.
Examples

8.1.2.3 If Responder Has 5-4 Majors

Stayman can also be employed with one five card major and one four card major:

8.1.2.3.1 If opener's rebid is 2

Holding five spades and four hearts, responder rebids 2 with invitational (8-9 points) values and 3 with game forcing values(10+ points)

8.1.2.3.2 If opener's rebid is 2

Holding four spades and five hearts, responder may rebid 3 with game forcing values(10+ points).

8.1.4 STAYMAN Before Slam

If responder has a strong hand with slam values and a strong minor suit,
Responder can not bid 2D, because 2D is transfer to hearts..
Responder can not bid 3C or 3D, because these are game invitational bids made with 5 card minor suits..
Responder must use Stayman before showing her diamonds for slam..
If responders use 2C Stayman, then bid her minor, opener will understand responder's slam interest and act accordingly..

Opener's bid Responder's bid
(with slam points)
Opener's rebid Responder's rebid
(with slam
points)
Description
1NT  2 C Any 3C
or 
3D
If responder has slam interest with a strong and long minor suit he can rebid his minor after Stayman.. Opener will think that responder sould rebid her major after Stayman.. If responder shows her minor instead of her major, she needs slam in her minor suit..

8.2 Transfer

Your 2 , 2 or 2 response is transfer after your partner's 1 NT opening.. Transfer, almost guarantees 8-card majors fit. You apply transfer, to allow 1 NT opener to become declarer in your long suit.  So, your weak hand will become dummy.

If a partner opens 1 NT he has to hold at least 3 or 2-cards in every suit. If you are responder with 5+ card major suit, 8 card fit is almost ready. The contract can be made with your long major suit. But if you bid your long major suit, you will be declarer and 1 NT opener's hand will be dummy.. If the strong hand is at dummy, your opponents will witness the distribution of your honors. If the strong hand (with honors) is at closed hand, your opponents can not make their defensive plans easily. Also, opponent's opening lead toward the tenaces at the strong hand, may provide an additional trick. In  transfer convention you transfer declarership to your partner..

How to Transfer: If your partner opens 1 NT, you must bid the suit below your 5+ carded major. So, you give your partner the opporunity to bid higher suit which is your long major suit.. Simply, respond 2 if you want to transfer to hearts, and, respond 2 if you want to transfer to spades.. In this way, your partner becomes the declarer and your weak hand will be dummy.

Your 2 response means transfer to
Your 2 response means transfer to
Your 2 response means transfer to 3 (1NT opener rebids 3 if his preference is in diamonds. Rebids "pass" if his preference is in clubs).

After transferring, responders rebids reflects the length of her major suit (5 or 6 cards)  and the point range (8-9 or 10-15)

8.2.1 Transfer to Heart

With a long heart suit  responder bids 2 to transfer declarership to his partner. If 1 NT opener  accepts this heart transfer he must declare  2 (next higher suit). 1 NT opener  may also super accept this heart transfer with 4 cards and maximum NT points  by declaring  3.  

Opener's bid
Responder's bid
Opener's rebid Responder's points Responder's rebid Description of the responder's (partner who initiates transfer) rebid
1NT 2   2 0-7 Pass

Closing.

Responder passes if he has less than 7 points.

1NT 2   2 8-9 2NT

Inviting.

Responder rebids 2 NT with 5-card heart suit and  8-9 points. Opener will pass, correct to three of the major bid 3NT or bid 4 of the suit..

1NT 2   2 10-15 3NT

Game.

Responder rebids 3 NT with 5-card heart suit and 10-15 points. Opener will pass, correct to 4 of the major..

1NT 2   2 8-9 3

Inviting

Responder rebids 3 with 6-card heart suit and invitational values.. 

1NT

Use Texas transfer convention, for transfering to 4 hearts. Directly jump to 4 after 1NT openings..  

1NT 2   2 10+ Other suits than heart.

Slam

A new suit by responder is natural and forcing and shows 4+ card in the suit.

Please click on the box for a transfer to heart example....

8.2.2 Transfer to Spade

With a long spade suit  responder bids 2 to transfer declarership to his partner. If 1 NT opener  accepts this spade transfer he must declare  2 (next higher suit). 1 NT opener  may also super accept this spade transfer with 4 cards and maximum NT points by declaring  3.

Opener's bid
Responder's bid
Opener's rebid Responder's points Responder's rebid Description of the responder's (partner who initiates transfer) rebid
1NT 2 2 0-7 Pass

Closing

Responder passes if he has less than 7 points.

1NT 2 2 8-9 2NT

Inviting

Responder rebids 2 NT with 5-card spade suit and  8-9 points. Opener will pass, correct to three of the major bid 3NT or bid 4 of the suit..

1NT 2 2 10-15 3NT

Game

Responder rebids 3 NT with 5-card spade suit and 10-15 points. Opener will pass, correct to 4 of the major..

1NT 2 2 8-9 3

Inviting

Responder rebids 3 with 6-card spade suit and invitational values. 

1NT

Use Texas transfer convention, for transfering to 4 spades. Directly jump to 4 after 1NT openings..  

1NT 2 2 10+ Other suits than spade.

Slam

A new suit by responder is natural and forcing.and shows 4+ card in the suit.

Please click on the box for a transfer to heart example:....

8.2.3 Transfers with a 5-5 Majors

Holding 5-5 in the majors, responder rebids depend on the values he holds..

Opener's bid
Responder's bid
Opener's rebid Responder's points Responder's rebid Description of the responder's (partner who initiates transfer) rebid
1NT 2 2 Invational 
values
2 Responder rebids spades if he has 5-5 majors with invitational values
1NT 2 2 Game values 3 Responder rebids 3 hearts if he has 5-5 majors with game values.


8.3 Other Conventions

We already introduced you some widely used conventions like Stayman, transfer, Blackwood etc.There are too many other conventions. It is your and your partner's choice to use all or some of these conventions. But, a good bridge player must have some idea about these conventions. Please find below some conventions:


1  5 Card Majors 5 Card Majors
2 Acol   Acol
3 Precision Precision  
4 Gambling 3 NT   Gambling 3 NT
5 Stayman In the text
6 Transfer In the text
7 Negative Doubles Neagtive Doubles
8 New Minor Forcing NMF
9 Artificial Two Clubs Section-5 
10 Control-Showing Cue Bids Section-7
11 Blackwood  Section-7
12 Roman Key Card Blackwood Section-7
13 Michaels Cue Bids Michaels Cue Bids
14 Unsual 2 NT  Unusual 2NT
15  Splinters Splinters
16 DONT DONT
17 Cappelletti  Cappelletti
18 Lebensohl

Lebenshol

19 Drury   
20 D.O.P.I. and R.O.P.I.

DOPI&ROPI

21 Jacoby 2NT

Jacoby 2NT

22 Texas   
Note1

 

 

Note2

 

 

 

Note3

First three conventions are bidding systems 
which also include opening bids.
Fourth one is simply an opening bid.. 
The rest of them are used later in the auction. 
The bold ones are the conventions that you
already have some idea about..

SAYC (Standard American Yellow Card) and Two-Over-One systems are also bidding systems. These systems are in 5-Card Major style with some variations. For example: In 5-card major you need at least 10 points to bid at level-2 and it is not forcing to game. In Two-Over-One system you need at least 12 points to bid at level-2 and it is forcing to game..

You can practise convention if you go Section-10 of this site..
You can also find some information about 
conventions in Lesson-13 of the 
"Lessons in Bridge" series in
Section 13 of this site.

 

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