Page 0040

YOUR QUESTIONS

Five-card

Stayman

Thanks to Fleur Waters of Eye whose letter to

English Bridge (April 2010 issue) prompted this article

interest (now 4t is a sign off, no 4-4 fit is found, responder can bid 4´,

Sally Brock asking responder to bid 4™ which confident of three-card support.

opener will pass or convert to 4´ – Fairly recently another bright spark (or

this can make the weaker hand maybe the same one for all I know!) came

ONCE upon a time it was considered declarer but only when he is in up with a much simpler solution to this

more important to show the location of game and is known to have fair problem: simply swap the 3™ and 3NT

your high cards rather than the nature of values, so shouldn’t matter too responses. So now:

your hand. These days we realise that much; 4™/4´ set the suit and After 2NT – 3®:

balanced and distributional hands should accept the slam try); 3t denies a five-card major but

be treated significantly differently. Once 4t shows both majors with no slam promises a four-carder;

you might have opened an Acol 2™ with interest; opener just bids his major. 3™ denies any majors, whether four-

´AQ4 ™AKJ32 tK76 ® A 10. For example: or five-card;

Nowadays you would open 2NT. 3´ shows five spades;

Traditional methods of bidding after a 3NT shows five hearts (after this, 4t is a

2NT opening such as Baron (bidding four- ´ A Q65 ´ KJ43 ‘re-transfer’ asking opener to bid

card suits up the line) or Stayman did ™ A 5 N ™ KQ62 his suit and get the hand played

W E

nothing to locate a 5-3 major-suit fit, so t A K 10 6 S t Q5 the ‘right’ way up).

the next step was to play Five-card Stay- ® A 96 ® 872 This removes all problems with 5-4 in the

man. To start with this was simple: 3® majors. Responder can enquire and then

asked if opener held a five-card major – if bid 3´ over 3™, showing five spades and

he had one he bid it, otherwise he bid 3t. West East allowing opener to bid 3NT, 4´ or cue-bid

Then responder could introduce four-card 2NT 3® as appropriate. For example:

majors until a fit was found. 3t 4®

The snag with this method, however, was 4´ 4NT

that it meant that 4-4 major-suit fits tended 5t 6´ ´ AQ4 ´ K J 10 5 3

to be played by the weaker hand with the ™ K5 N ™ A762

W E

2NT opener coming down in the dummy, Once West shows a maximum with four t KQ4 S t A3

making it much easier for the defence. So spades, East is worth a slam and just checks ® AK732 ® 54

some bright spark suggested that it would there aren’t two aces missing (pretty impos-

work better if responder, instead of bidding sible if West is maximum but it always

the suit he held after the 3t response, bid makes us feel a bit more confident if we can West East

the suit he hadn’t got. Brilliant! use Blackwood or RKCB, as here). 2NT 3®

Of course, as with every system, there 3™ 3´

are variations, but this is a fairly simple One of the other problems with bidding 4® 4NT

version: over 2NT is when responder has five spades 5´ 5NT

After 2NT – 3®: and four hearts. This was easy in the days of 7´

3t denies a five-card major but Stayman because after the 3t response

promises a four-card major; responder simply bid 3´ and opener could One can use Five-card Stayman after a 1NT

3™ shows five hearts; choose between 3NT and 4´. But this is a opening too, but it is less common. In my

3´ shows five spades; difficult hand for these new methods. Some view it does not go very well with a weak

3NT denies a four- or five-card major. people like to play that a 3NT response to no-trump because you give up the ability to

After 2NT – 3® – 3t: 3® denies a four- or five-card major and remove 1NT with a weak hand, and that is

3™ shows four spades; also denies three spades, meaning that res- too big a price. It is my preference to play it

3´ shows four hearts; ponder with 5-4 in the majors can happily with a strong no-trump, though, and I like

3NT is to play – responder was only pass knowing that there is no eight-card to play that responder bids the suits he has,

interested in a five-card major; major fit; conversely, the 3t response does not the ones he doesn’t. I’m not sure there

4® shows both majors and slam not promise a four-card major, but when is a good reason for this – just habit! r

40 English Bridge August 2010 www.ebu.co.uk

Index

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