Standard Stayman

After an opening bid or an overcall of 1NT (2NT), responder or advancer bids 2 (3) (artificial) to ask opener or overcaller to bid a four card major suit headed by a Queen minimum if he has one. This bid promises four cards in at least one of the major suits and, in standard form, enough strength to continue bidding after partner's response (8 HCP for an invitational bid opposite a standard 1NT showing 15-17 HCP or 5 HCP to go to game opposite a standard 2NT showing 20-21 points). It also promises distribution that is not 4333. By invoking the Stayman convention, the responder takes control of the bidding since strength and distribution of the opener's hand is already known within a limited range. The opener responds with the following rebids. 2 (3) denies four or more cards in either major suit. 2 (3) shows at least four hearts. 2 (3) shows at least four spades. A notrump opener should have neither a suit longer than five cards nor more than one 5-card suit since an opening notrump bid shows a balanced hand. A notrump bidder who has at least four cards in each major suit normally responds in the longer or stronger major, with a preference given to spades. In the standard form of Stayman over 1NT, the responder has a number of options depending on his partner's answer: If the notrump opener names a major suit and the responder has four cards in that suit, the responder bids three of the notrump bidder's suit (invitational) with 8-9 HCP or four of the notrump bidder's major suit (game) with 10 or more HCP. If the notrump bidder bids a major suit in which the responder does not have at least four cards, the responder may bid 2NT (invitational) with 8-9 HCP or 3NT (game) with 10 or more HCP. However, if responder has 5 cards in the unnamed major, he may bid it at a con enient level in an attempt to find a 5-3 fit. If the notrump bidder bids 2, denying a 4-card major, responder may bid his 5 card major with a call of 2 of his major with 8-9 HCP, or with a call of 3 of his major with 10 HCP. This allows notrump bidder to find game in a major with a 5-3 split. Otherwise, opener has the option to retreat to the appropriate notrump contract. Over these bids, the notrump bidder (1) with a maximum hand (17 HCP), goes to game over an invitational bid and (2) with four (or more) cards in each major suit, corrects to the previously unbid major suit. In the standard form of Stayman over 2NT, the responder has only two normal rebids. If the notrump bidder names a major suit and the responder has four cards in that suit, the responder bids four of the notrump bidder's suit (game). If the notrump bidder names a major suit in which the responder does not have at least four cards or bids diamonds to deny a major suit, the responder bids 3NT (game). If the notrump bidder has four cards in each major suit, the notrump bidder corrects to the previously unbid major suit. In either case, a responder who rebids notrump over a response in a major suit promises four cards of the other major suit. Thus, a notrump opener who holds at least four cards in each major suit should "correct" by bidding the other major suit at the lowest level. Of course, once a fit is found, responder who has sufficient strength also may bid 4 (Gerber) or 4NT (Blackwood), or cue bid aces, depending upon partnership agreement, to explore slam in any of the above sequences. Some partnerships also admit responder's rebids of a major suit that the notrump bidder did not name. A bid of 4 over an opening bid of 3NT may be either Stayman or Gerber, depending upon the partnership agreement.