Stayman Convention

All bridge played follows the rules of contract bridge, or sometimes just called bridge. Once bridge became a popular game, players have been trying to come up with improved ways to communicate to their partner. These are called conventions. Some have worked, and some have not. The Stayman Convention is a convention that many players use.

As discussed in previous blogs, the first round of bidding helps the partners determine how high they can go in their bidding. If their total points are 30 or greater, then a small slam (12 tricks) or grand slam (13 tricks) is possible. If the partners have all 4 aces and all 4 kings between them, they should bid a grand slam. If they are missing 1 ace, then a small slam is possible.

The Stayman Convention is used to determine the number of aces and/or kings in your partner’s hand. It is similar to the Gerber and is used when Gerber is not possible. The signal for Gerber is a 4C bid. If the prior bid was 3D, a bid of 4C doesn’t specify the Geber bid but is the normal bad after 3D. Therefore, Stayman should be used.

The signal for Stayman is a jump bid to 4NT. It does not specify that no trumps is your suit but asking for the aces.

Once you know where all the aces are, you might then want to know how many kings your partner has. The signal for aces is a bid of 5NT.

Once this information is gathered, the team then sets the final contract (suit and level). Whenever possible, use the Gerber over the Stayman because it keeps the bidding at a lower level.



James Frazee

Author, Beginning Bridge by the Numbers

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