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Angles on Stayman - Manx hands 6 a space-saving bid

#1 User is offline   Douglas43 

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Posted 2021-April-22, 12:36

One of the joys of this game is that you can play for 40 years and still come across different ideas.

This is a hand from Douglas Bridge Club (21 April, Board 17).

North South are playing a 1NT as "12-14, may be good 11". We play normal Stayman, guaranteeing at least one 4 card major. It is either weak (in which case happy to play in either major) or invitational strength upwards.

West's double of Stayman shows clubs




South, with an invitational-strength hand bid 2 mainly because of worry about the Club suit for no-trump purposes. North had a minimum opener and passed 2, which just made.

The board was played 5 times. At the other four tables one pair stopped in 3 (minus 1) and the remaining three bid on to 4 (minus 2).

Once you take on board that the 2 bid means "I have four Spades and 11-12 points", there is an advantage in opener preferring 2 to 2 over Stayman with 4-4 in the Majors (if opener chooses 2 that forces partner with invitational values and four Hearts to bid 2NT).

The idea of bidding 2 on the South hand instead of 2NT was new to me. Then I looked at the EBU magazine from February. It's on page six. Hand 1. In the beginner's quiz. You live and learn...

The author of the article Sara Bell put it thus: "The idea of bidding 2 rather than 2NT is that partner can pass if they have a minimum hand with spade support and you get to play in your fit at a nice low level."
[Footnote: If you play a 15-17 no-trump where an invitational hand is about 8-9 hcp, this is more likely to wrong-side the contract. Playing 12-14 the hands are so close in strength it doesn't matter. There are also alternative uses for the 2 bid in some methods]
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#2 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2021-April-22, 13:43

I'm not convinced that eight loser North hand is a good 11. My partner and I would end up in 3 after South opens 1NT and a Stayman sequence.
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#3 User is offline   Douglas43 

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Posted 2021-April-23, 09:39

View PostAL78, on 2021-April-22, 13:43, said:

I'm not convinced that eight loser North hand is a good 11. My partner and I would end up in 3 after South opens 1NT and a Stayman sequence.


Interesting point about valuation. My partner who was North tried to post but had IT problems. He comments: "I liked the 2 Aces, the AQ together, the 10 D supporting the J and the other 10. If the Spades were 1098x this would be a no brainer 1NT opener in my opinion."

To compare the North and South hands:

Shape: both are 4432. Draw.
Location of suits: North is 4=4=3=2 which is much better than South's 4=2=4=3. With 4 cards in each major you are guaranteed a fit if partner transfers or uses Stayman. And if partner just bids 3NT you'll probably get a lead in a major.

Comparison of suit quality:
AQ83 v AQ83 is a draw
J104 v J103 is a draw
A7 v K4 is a win for North
10652 v Q652 is a win for South


Overall, I'd open both with 1NT but I'd actually prefer the North hand.
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