Stayman when using 4-way transfers

By Jeanette Olson,2014-04-20 19:10
6 views 0
Stayman when using 4-way transfers

2.2 Stayman When Using 4-way Transfers

    We have seen that when playing ‘standard’ Stayman then the 2; bid always promises at

    least one 4 card major. Later on we will be discussing 4-way Jacoby transfers and for the

    transfers to the minors we need, directly over a 1NT opening:-

2 (transfer to ;’s) 2NT (transfer to ’s)

    No problem with the 2 bid (it is redundant) but using 2NT as a transfer means that it is no longer available as the limit raise (8-9 pts) (without a 4 card major). This means that all limit

    raises have to go via Stayman, regardless of whether they contain a 4 card major or not.

    So we have to clear up how 2NT can be used as a transfer as it is normally used as an

    invitational (8-9 pts) raise in NT. Simple, we simply bid 2; and then bid 2NT after partner’s

    response to ‘Stayman’. Thus, when playing these 4-way transfers, a 2; ‘Stayman’ bid no

    longer guarantees a 4 card major. Does this lead to difficulties and a 4-4 major suit ever being

    missed? No, let’s have some examples -

Example 1 West East West East

(1) Stayman, may have no J863 A97 1NT 2; (1)

    card major K64 Q93 2 2NT (2)

    (2) invitational, AK63 Q2 pass

     3 or less ’s ; AJ ; 109764


Example 2 West East West East

(1) Stayman, may have no J86 A97 1NT 2; (1)

    4 card major K64 Q93 2 2NT (2)

    (2) invitational, may have AK63 Q2 pass

     any major suit holding ; AJ3 ; 109764

     So that all works fine, with no problems. The only area which needs some thought is when

    opener has both majors. In that case he obviously responds 2, but a responder with 4 ’s

    cannot now simply bid 2NT as opener will not know if he has 4 ’s or not. A problem?

    No. Holding an invitational hand responder should bid 2NT if he does not have 4 ’s but

    bid 2 if he does. Thus,

In the sequence, 1NT - 2; - 2 - 2 , 2 promises a 4 card suit and invitational values.

    In the sequence, 1NT - 2; - 2 - 2NT, 2NT is invitational with no 4 card suit.

Note These invitational sequences are just one reason why opener should always respond 2

    to Stayman when holding both majors. If he responds 2 and the bidding is

     1NT - 2; - 2 - 2NT then opener has no idea if responder has 4 ’s or not.


Example 3

West East West East

AJ106 K94 1NT 2;

     AK64 J97 2 2NT (1)

     Q63 J975 pass

    ; J3 ; A105

    (1) In ‘standard’, this bid promises an invitational hand with 4 ’s and so opener may wish to

    retreat into 3. Playing 4-way transfers, this bid shows an invitational hand without a 4

    card major. Opener passes the 2NT bid with this minimum. He would bid 3NT with a max

    whereas it would be 4 if not playing 4-way transfers.


Example 4

West East West East

AJ106 K954 1NT 2;

     AK64 J97 2 2 (1)

     Q63 J75 pass (2)

    ; J3 ; A105

(1) In ‘standard’ this particular sequence is up to partnership understanding. When not using

    transfers, the bid is often used to show an invitational (or slightly less, say 7-8 pts) hand

    with 5 ’s. Since we can show that hand type using transfers we define a different meaning

    when using 4-way transfers: -

     Playing 4-way transfers this shows an invitational hand with 4 ’s. Opener will pass with a

    minimum and 4 ’s, correct to 2NT with a minimum without 4 ’s and bid the relevant

    game if holding a maximum.

    (2) West has a minimum, so passes the invitational 2.


Being at the low level of 2 has other advantages. Sometimes a 4-3 fit may be preferable: -

Example 5

West East West East

AK6 Q754 1NT 2;

     Q9432 7 2 2

     Q63 K75 pass

    ; A3 ; K9642

    In this example, 2 is better than 2NT



Example 6

West East West East

AJ86 KQ54 1NT 2;

     AK64 J97 2 3NT (1)

     Q63 A7 4 pass

    ; J3 ; Q1092

    (1) This is the same if playing 4-way transfers or standard. The jump to 3NT shows game

    values with 4 ’s. If East did not have 4 ’s then he would have bid a direct 3NT.


Sequence A 1NT - 2; - 2 - 2

    Sequence B 1NT - 2; - 2 - 2

    Although seemingly similar, these sequences are totally different: -

With sequence A, 2 is to play. Responder has a weak hand containing 4 ’s and 5 ’s.

    With sequence B, 2 is invitational. Responder has an invitational hand containing 4 ’s.

So the invitational sequences are: -

Sequence B 1NT - 2; - 2 - 2 is invitational, with a four card suit

    Sequence C 1NT - 2; - 2 - 2NT is invitational, may have 0,1 or 2 four card majors Sequence D 1NT - 2; - 2 - 2NT is invitational, no four card major

    Sequence E 1NT - 2; - 2 - 2NT is invitational, may have a four card suit

And obviously the following sequences are weak: -

Sequence F 1NT - 2; - 2 - 2 is weak, with 5 ’s and 4 ’s

    Sequence A 1NT - 2; - 2 - 2 is weak, with 4 ’s and 5 ’s

    When we get on to discuss 5-5 major suited hands, we see that it is best to also use either sequence A or F with a very weak 5-5 hand. Basically, try Stayman and then bid the best 5 card major if there is no 5-4 fit.

Note Playing traditional methods Sequence B, 1NT - 2; - 2 - 2, is redundant. It is

     sometimes used to show a hand with 5 ’s and 7-8 points which is not quite good

    enough to transfer and then invite. I guess that it’s reasonable, but with no equivalent with a suit it really is a luxury that we cannot afford as we need the bid to show our invitational hand with 4 ’s.


Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email