Once a partnership has a clear understanding about the elementary bids and responses and their defensive signals, it is time to consider adding a few conventional bids. There are many artificial bids available that can either help or harm your overall game. The advice from this quarter is to use only conventions that are crystal clear to both partners and instantly recognizable each time they are used.
A successful bridge game requires little more than concentration, count and communication. Work hard on your concentration, playing the hand you are holding and not an earlier one, on the bidding, on partner's signals, in visualizing the opponent's card holding and in deciding which cards to play which will provide optimum results. Try to count everything, each trump, every card, every play. This will take some practice; begin with the trump suit, then the others. Finally, try and make your bids as clear and meaningful to your partner as you possibly can. The art of communications with partner is the ultimate key in the outcome of each competition.
Stayman is the most widely used bridge convention. Its purpose is to locate a 4-4 major suit fit after partner has opened either 1NT or 2NT. This bid is totally artificial and simply asks, "partner, do you have a 4 card major?" If the answer is 'yes', the NT opener bids 2H or 2S--a 2H response does not deny 4 spades. A 2D reply denies both 4 hearts and 4 spades.
1NT-P-2C is Stayman 2NT-P-3C is Stayman
Requirements for a Stayman response to 1NT:
At least one four card major.
At least 8 HCPs.
At least one short side suit (2 cards or less).
Note: Do not bid Stayman with 4-3-3-3 distribution. Even with a 4-4 fit, it is better to play the contract in 2NT (8-9) or 3NT (10-15) with no short suit to trump.
Examples: Opener Responder
1NT 2C (Stayman)
2S 4S (4+spades, 10+
1NT 2C 2D (none) 2NT (8-9 HCPs) 2NT 3C (Stayman) 3H 3NT (5-6 HCPs, 4+S)**Opener can correct to 4S if also holding 4 spades; if not, play 3NT. Garbage StaymanIf you hold 4441, 4351 or 4450 distribution and have minimal points, with partnership agreement you can bid 2C and pass whatever opener responds. Since partner must bid either 2D, 2H or 2S, your pass will provide a better contract than 1NT. Example: You hold 9872 3842 K863 2. Bid 2C and pass the response.