ACBL04F – Notrump: Understanding Stayman       Ward Trumbull

                                                                                                                    Jun 3, 2012

                                                                                                                    Page 1 of 5




      Stayman is a convention used by the responder to attempt to get an 8+ card fit in a major suit when partner:


        opens 1 notrump                       15-18 HCP

        overcalls 1 notrump                   15+ HCP        (could be more than 18)

   *   doubles opponents 1 notrump   15+ HCP

        opens Trumbull 2 clubs and      19-21 HCP

                   rebids 2 notrump                 

        opens 2 notrump                       22-24 HCP


        * See ACBL04J on Notrump Systems On.




      The purpose of Stayman is to have the notrump bidder play the hand if you find a major fit.  Thus normally, the stronger hand (declarer) is hidden,

and the weaker hand (responder) is the dummy.




      The responder asks partner to name his/her 4 card major (if any) by bidding the next available club bid.  Over 1 notrump bids it is 2 clubs.  Over a 2 notrump bids it is 3 clubs.


      The notrump opener or notrump overcaller has these three options:


            a. 2 diamonds - meaning he/she has no 4 card major

            b. 2 hearts       - meaning he/she has 4 hearts and may or may not

                                      have 4 spades

            c. 2 spades     - meaning he/she has 4 spades and may or may

                                      not have 4 hearts


For 3 clubs Stayman the responses are 3 diamonds, hearts or spades.

         ACBL04F - Notrump: Understanding Stayman         Jun 3, 2012

                                                                                                                      Page 2 of 5


  1.  Responder’s Stayman Requirements


          To invoke (bid) Stayman, the responder needs:


                1. One four card major, two four card majors or 4/5+ cards in the

                    majors.  Note that for 5+/5+ in the majors another convention

                    is used – see ACBL04A.


                2. Enough HCP to at least get to (rebid) the next notrump level if

                    partner does not name responder’s major(s).


                    Notrumper’s Bid                          Responder Needs

                    ---------------------------------------     -------------------------------------

                    1 notrump (15-18 HCP)               8+ HCP to get to 2 notrump

                    2 clubs/2 notrump (19-21HCP)    5+ HCP to get to 3 notrump

  1. notrump (22-24 HCP)              2+ HCP to get to 3 notrump


  1.  On a No Fit: Responder’s Rebid Options


 If the 1 notrumper does not name the responder’s major(s) suit,

      responder’s rebids are:


                   2 notrump with 8-9 HCP

                   3 notrump with 10-15 HCP

                   4 clubs (Gerber) with 16+ HCP - this is a slam try in notrump


          If the 2 notrumper does not name responder’s major, the

          responder’s rebid options are:


3 notrump with 5 HCP – for the 19-21 HCP 2 notrump

  1. HCP              22-24 HCP


4 clubs (Gerber) with 12 HCP – for the 19-21 HCP 2 notrump

            9 HCP               22-24 HCP    

   This is a slam try in notrump.


      ACBL04F - Notrump: Understanding Stayman            Jun 3, 2012

                                                                                                                      Page 3 of 5       


  1.  On a No Fit:  Notrumper’s Options                   


1. If responder rebids 2 notrump, it indicates a non-fit for his/her

    major.  If the notrumper has the other major, he/she should/must  

    rebid it at the 3 or 4 level.  See Notrumper’s Recount below.


    If the notrumper does not have responder’s major suit, the 2   

    notrump response is asking:   


                 “Are you at the bottom (15-16) or top (17-18) of your HCP?”  


                            Bottom passes, and top bids 3 notrump.


         2. If responder rebids 3 notrump, it indicates a non-fit for his/her

             major.  If the notrumper has the other major, he/she should/must

             rebid that major at the 4 level.  If not, pass.  


  1.  On a Fit:  Responder’s Recount


          If the notrumper names the responder’s major, he/she MUST

          immediately recount the hand points, adding distribution points if



          With 8-9 points, bid 3 of the major.  This asks partner to go to game

                                                                   in that major if the pair has 25+



          With 10-15 points, bid 4 of that major.


          With 16+ points, bid 4 clubs (Gerber), a slam try in that major.







        ACBL04F - Notrump: Understanding Stayman          Jun 3, 2012

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  1.  On a Fit: Notrumperer’s Recount


          If responder indicates a fit by support bidding 3 of the notrumper’s

          major, he/she is indicating 8-9 points.  The notrumper MUST

          immediately recount the hand, adding distribution points if any.  With

          still only 15-16 points, he/she should pass,  With 17+ points, he/she

          should bid 4 of the major.


  1.  Intervening Bids: Responder’s Options


          If the responder’s right hand opponent (RHO) makes in intervening

          bid at the two level, the responder’s options are:


            1. If the RHO bid is 2 clubs, responder doubles to indicate that was

                his/her bid, that is, Stayman.


            2. For any other RHO bid at the two level, responder bids 3 clubs

                for Stayman.


                Note: If your pair has less than 25 points, this may cause your

                          pair to still bid game at 3 notrump or 4 of a major and

                          possibly go set.


                          Damn those intervening bids.


            3. If the RHO bid is at the 3 level, you will not be able to invoke

                Stayman via bidding 3 clubs.  What you do bid depends on:


  1. If you have a stopper(s) in the overcall suit and 8+ HCP,

    take a shot a 3 notrump.


  1. Without a stopper(s),  [or] If your HCP is less than 8, just





        ACBL04F - Notrump: Understanding Stayman          Jun 3, 2012

                                                                                                                      Page 5 of 5


  1.  Intervening Bids: Responder’s Options

          3. If the RHO bid is at the 3 level (continued)


  1. Without a stopper(s) , if your HCP is 10+ it means your

     pair has enough points for game (25+) but can’t get a 4-

          major fit via the Stayman convention.


          1).  If you are the lucky type, bid 3 notrump and the

                notrumper hand will have a stopper (s) in the  

                overcall suit.


                              2). If you are the unlucky type, pass.


                              3). Or you can double for penalty.

                                   However, the notrumper just might take this as a

                                   transfer double, i.e., “that’s the suit I was going to

                                   bid”.  If you do double, hold your breath and hope

                                   partner doesn’t blurt out “transfer”.


  1.  Novice Mistakes


          1. Bids 2 of a major if notrumper doesn’t bid his/her major.


          2. Bypasses Stayman because his/her major has no ace or



          3. Doesn’t do the responder/notrumper hand recount when there is

              a major suit fit.