Stayman convention

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In the card game contract bridge, Stayman is a convention used to find a 4-4 trump fit in a major suit after the 1NT opening bid. It can also be modified for use after an opening 2NT, 3NT (strong) or a 1NT overcall. While the convention is named after the person who first wrote about it, Samuel Stayman in 1945,[1] it was actually invented in 1939 by the British bridge player J.C.H. Marx (who published it only in 1946[2]), and apparently independently by Stayman's partner George Rapee in 1945.[3]

The main reason for seeking a fit in a major suit is that the success rate for 4 or 4♠ with 26 HCP is about 80%, whereas 3NT with 26 HCP has a success rate of only 60%, or 50% with 25 HCP.[4] (The extra control from having a trump suit is often worth an extra trick in such situations.) Additionally, in matchpoint scoring, the additional 20 points for making 4 or 4♠ versus 3NT can be significant.

Contents

Standard Stayman

After an opening bid or an overcall of 1NT (2NT), responder bids 2♣ (3♣) to ask opener or overcaller to bid a four card major suit 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). 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.

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