1. Opener bids 1NT (15 – 17HCP; balanced distribution).
2. Responder (acting as Captain responsible for setting the best contract) holding at least one four-card major and at least 8 – 9HCP bids 2C (Stayman). Responder is making a statement: “Partner, I have a four-card major”. Responder is also asking a question: “Do you?”
3. Opener is forced to bid for one round and is charged with further describing her hand. Here are the basic responses: a. 2D = a denial bid saying “I have no four-card major”.
b. 2H = saying “I promise I have a four-card heart suit. Some partnerships agree 2H also says “I may also have a four-card spade suit”. Shows 15 – 16HCP, minimum 1NT strength.
c. 3H = same as b. and shows maximum 1NT strength (16- 17/18HCP).
d. 2S = saying “I promise I have a four-card spade suit and minimum 1NT strength. Some partnerships agree 2S also says, “I deny holding four hearts”.
e. 3S = Same as d. and shows maximum 1NT strength.
f. 2NT = Some partnerships agree 2NT says, “I have four spades and four hearts; so, partner, choose which you like as trump.”
4. Responder now uses this information to either set the contract or push toward slam.
a. Opener: 1NT; Responder (Captain): 2C; Opener: 2S/3S (four spades; either minimum or maximum strength). Assume responder’s four-card
major is spades, a trump fit has been found and responder uses dummy (short-suit) points to reevaluate the hand’s strength and
1) 4S = sign off; to play.
2) 4C = Gerber convention; Ace seeking.
3) 4NT = quantitative (not Blackwood) telling opener to pass with minimum strength or bid 6NT with maximum strength.
b. Assume responder’s four-card major is hearts and opener’s rebid to responder’s Stayman call is 2 or 3 spades. No fit has been found,
so responder does not use dummy point reevaluation. Depending on responder’s distribution, stoppers and HCP (10 – 11, at least), the best contract might be 3NT.
c. Responder holds: S=AQ85; H=432; D=QJ54; C=98. Opener: 1NT; Responder: 2C (Stayman);
Opener: 2D (no four-card major). Now the Captain responds just as he would had he not bid Stayman: 2NT (game inviting). One item
responder’s Stayman has revealed to opener = holding at least one four-card major. With minimum strength opener might pass; with
maximum rebid 3NT.
d. Responder holds: S=AQJ85; H=432; D=J54; C=87. Opener: 1NT; Responder: 2C; Opener: 2D;
Responder: 2S (shows a five-card major). NOTE: if the partnership uses Jacoby Transfers, the better bid might be 2H (transfer to spades).
5. Handling Interference.
a. The bidding: S=1NT; W=2D. Oops! N has 10HCP a four-card major and would have responded 2C (Stayman), but West’s 2D overcall
eliminated a 2C response. One solution = 3D; a cuebid of opponent’s suit to replace 2C (Stayman).
b. The bidding: S=1NT; W=2S. North holds: S=QT75; H=K84; D=9642; C=K7. North really wanted to respond 2C (Stayman) telling partner, “I
have at least 8HCP and a four-card major; you have one?” But West’s 2S overcall eliminated a 2C response. One other response: Double
(for penalty). Opener holds at least 15HCP and two spades; responder holds 8 and four spades with QT. Opener/responder on defense could
make a good score with 2Sx.