Extending Stayman Scope

By Ana Roth
On 3 July, 2013 At 8:28

Category : Conventions, conventions I

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Extended Stayman
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By James R. Klein

Either I am getting a little rigid or my bidding is so bad that I can’t afford the luxury of exotic conventions to take care of hands that rarely come up during a session. However, the chance to expand on the treatment of a familiar cornerstone convention is quite intriguing. The Stayman convention over one no-trump is a prime example of constructive improvement in scope which accomplishes a great deal more than its primary intention of finding a 4-4 major suit fit.
 Before you dismiss this idea, ask yourself some of the following questions. Have the opponents to often found the killing lead against your 1NT-3NT gambler? Do you miss your 4-4 minor suit slams and end up playing in bad 3NT contracts? Or worse, do you go down when a minor suit partial is marked? Do you miss games because you are afraid of incorrectly describing a hand with 15 to 17 points and a six card minor by opening 1NT? Do your 4-4 major suit fits frequently take as many or less than if the hand played in no-trump? In general, has your judgment been somewhat less than adequate after partner has opened one no-trump?
 Without altering any of the primary meanings of the Stayman sequences, we should be able to handle minor suit slam tries which depend on finding 4-4 fits. Some of the hands referred to are shown below as examples. How would you handle the following hands if you were responding to a 1NT opening by partner?

Mano 1   Mano 2   Mano 3   Mano 4   Mano 5
A 10 4 2 
3       
A Q 6 5  
K Q 5 3
  5             
4 3 2       
A 10 7 5
K Q 5 4 3  
  A             
J 10 9 4       
K 9 7 5    
K 9 8 7 
                
J 10 9 5 3     
A Q 6 5       
K Q 10 9  
  A 10 7 6          
J 10 8     
A Q 7 2      
K Q  
                 

Hand 1 and 4 will probably produce a minor suit slam if a 4-4 minor suit is found but each can play at other contracts. Hands 1 and 5 could be played at either a spade or a diamond slam if a 4-4 fit is found. If no such fit exists then a 3NT contract may be tried.In order to facilitate exploration of minor suits over 1NT bids, I propose a 2 club response followed by 3 clubs as an extended Stayman asking for other suit information. Let us take a look at some sequences and their meanings.

Opener   Bid    Responder  Bid  
1NT 15-17 PH   2 Bid 4 card major
2 No Major   3 Bid 4 card minor
3 Suit is Diamond   3 I like Diamond, spade control
4 Club Control   4NT Keycards (Diamond)
5 1-4 Keycards   6 Slam in Diamonds

 1NT  15-17 PH   2 Bid 4 card major
2 4 spades cards   3 Bid another 4 card suit
3 no other   3NT to play

1NT 15-17 PH   2 Bid 4 card major
2 4 spades cards   3 Bid another 4 card suit
3 4 heart cards   4 to play

1NT 15-17 PH   2 a 2NT transfer a los 4 palos

         
1NT 15-17 PH   2 Bid 4 card major
2 4 heart cards   2NT Invita a game

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