Page 0005

When to Bid Stayman,

PAIRS TACTICS

When to Bid 3NT

Opposite a 1NT Opener

MATCH-POINT scoring is wrongly asso- ner’s hand (i.e. whether he has four hearts).

ciated with a need to play in 3NT at almost Hand C: 2® Stayman. Having both four-

every opportunity. In fact it is at teams and card majors does make a difference. In gen-

rubber that 3NT is more often preferable to eral, when you end up in 3NT, you’d rather

4™ or 4´: you need to make two more tricks not do so via Stayman (giving away infor- Andrew Robson

in 4™ or 4´ for that contract to be mate- mation). With both majors, as here, you are

rially superior. At pairs 4™ or 4´ will be twice as likely not to play in 3NT than if you

better if it makes just one more trick (those had just one four-card major. The bidding as it went:

extra 20 points really matter): you would Hand D: close! I would bid 3NT, although if West North East South

want to be in 4™ or 4´ if you think there’s partner held four spades I would probably 1NT

one extra trick to be had – and there usually on balance rather be in 4´. The reason is I Pass 2® Dble 2´

is with a 4-4 fit. However, you must beware don’t want to give away information. What Pass 3NT All Pass

the information that Stayman gives. if my Stayman bid was doubled to show

Exercise: Would you bid 2® Stayman decent clubs – tipping off the club lead? Or, The bidding as it should have gone:

over partner’s 1NT opener (12-14) with more subtly, what if the Stayman bid wasn’t West North East South

these responding hands? doubled so West found (say) the winning 1NT

heart lead vs 3NT rather than the losing Pass 3NT All Pass

club (from equivalent suits)? Having said

Hand A Hand B that, if my heart doubleton was small-small, North’s decision to look for a 4-4 heart fit

´ AJ97 ´ K975 even jack-small, I’d really have to bid was hardly criminal, but once East had

™ 74 ™ Q 10 4 Stayman. An anti-room 3NT with a spade found the good lead-directing double of

t Q J 10 3 t AJ3 fit and the defence cashing all the hearts will the Stayman 2®, North-South could kiss a

® AJ2 ® K93 score a big, round zero. decent result goodbye. Versus 3NT West

led a club to the ten and queen, and decla-

Hand C Hand D When to lean towards Stayman: rer led a spade, hoping East held the ´A.

´ J 10 9 4 ´ A862 • Small doubletons Not so: West rose with the ´A whereupon

™ A 10 8 4 ™ Q8 • Both four-card majors a second club through ®K-9 ensured four

t K3 t KJ94 When to lean towards 3NT: club tricks for East. Down one.

® AJ3 ® K83 • 4-3-3-3 hands Recommended is a simple raise to 3NT

• Honour doubletons by North, hoping that there isn’t a 4-4

heart fit or that, even if there is, 3NT will

Hand A: a clear Stayman bid. If partner has Consider our featured deal: play for as many tricks (North’s good

four spades, it will almost certainly be outside intermediates making that quite

better to play in 4´ than in 3NT. There is likely). Declarer wins West’s spade lead,

heart weakness for 3NT and even if partner E/W Game. Dealer South. knocks out the ace of spades and, later, the

is well-stopped in the suit, there will surely ´ K 10 ace of clubs. Nine tricks and game made.

be an extra ruffing trick somewhere. ™ A532

Hand B: a clear 3NT, with the 4-3-3-3 t K J 10 5

shape. There will be the odd hand opposite ® K98 Andrew’s Tip: 4-4 major fits do

where 4´ plays better, but many more ´ A9763 ´ 82 usually play a trick better than no-

where 3NT will make the same number of ™ K 10 8 4 N ™ Q6 trumps. But think hard before using

W E

tricks as 4´. Even if, facing four spades, t 8 S t 9762 Stayman because of the infor-

there were slightly more hands where 4´ ® 432 ® A J 10 7 5 mation it gives away. With 4-3-3-3

would play a trick better than 3NT (and this ´ QJ54 shapes and 4-4-3-2s with good

I doubt), I would still not bid Stayman – ™ J97 doubletons, it may be best to blast

because every time partner does not have t AQ43 3NT and give the opponents no

four spades and you play in 3NT, you have ® Q6 information. r

given the defence information about part-

www.ebu.co.uk October 2011 English Bridge 5

Index

  1. Page 0001
  2. Page 0002
  3. Page 0003
  4. Page 0004
  5. Page 0005
  6. Page 0006
  7. Page 0007
  8. Page 0008
  9. Page 0009
  10. Page 0010
  11. Page 0011
  12. Page 0012
  13. Page 0013
  14. Page 0014
  15. Page 0015
  16. Page 0016
  17. Page 0017
  18. Page 0018
  19. Page 0019
  20. Page 0020
  21. Page 0021
  22. Page 0022
  23. Page 0023
  24. Page 0024
  25. Page 0025
  26. Page 0026
  27. Page 0027
  28. Page 0028
  29. Page 0029
  30. Page 0030
  31. Page 0031
  32. Page 0032
  33. Page 0033
  34. Page 0034
  35. Page 0035
  36. Page 0036
  37. Page 0037
  38. Page 0038
  39. Page 0039
  40. Page 0040
  41. Page 0041
  42. Page 0042
  43. Page 0043
  44. Page 0044
  45. Page 0045
  46. Page 0046
  47. Page 0047
  48. Page 0048
  49. Page 0049
  50. Page 0050
  51. Page 0051
  52. Page 0052
  53. Page 0053
  54. Page 0054
  55. Page 0055
  56. Page 0056