Stayman is a common bridge bidding convention and one that is easy to learn, even for beginners.  It is used by the responder if their partner has opened the bidding with a bid of 1NT or 2NT.

The purpose of using the Stayman convention is to establish whether the partnership has an 8 card fit in a major suit in a situation where game might be possible.  This means that the Stayman convention is usually used in response to a bid of 1NT when responder holds 11+ points.

How to use the Stayman Bridge Bidding Convention

If Partner has opened with 1NT

The typical use for Stayman is if you hold a four card major AND 11+ points.  Remember, you are trying to establish if you have an 8 card fit. You know that partner has a balanced hand as they have opened with a NT bid.  It is unlikely that they hold a 5 card major as they would probably have opened the bidding with 1 of their major suit instead.

You use Stayman by bidding 2 Clubs.  This bid doesn’t mean that you have length or strength in clubs, it is a special bid with a specific meaning.  It asks partner to tell you if they hold a 4 card major.

There are three responses that your partner can make to tell you about their hand:

  • If your partner doesn’t hold  a 4 card major, they will bid 2 Diamonds.
  • If your partner holds 4 cards in hearts they will bid 2 Hearts (remember, they might also hold 4 spades)
  • If your partner holds 4 cards in spades they will bid 2 Spades.  This means that they don’t hold 4 hearts, otherwise they would have bid those first.

More advanced players will use Stayman with hands containing any number of points, where they want to know if partner has a 4 card major.  Just remember, if you do this you must be prepared for partner to give you any of the possible answers.

You can find lots more information about how and when to use the Stayman convention if you join No Fear Bridge for your two week trial membership.  Just Click Here to go to the UK sign up form, or Click Here to go to the US sign up form.  No card or personal details are required for the trial.