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Just because you can... Manx hands 8 When not to use Stayman

#1 User is offline   Douglas43 

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Posted 2021-May-26, 13:46

Stayman is probably the most-used convention in bridge. And that's not surprising. It is helpful and easy to use. But just occasionally a hand comes along where you could use Stayman, but shouldn't. This was one such hand:
1NT is 12-14


Note South's decision to bid 3NT direct. North had an easy ride; there were eight tricks on top and a club lead guaranteed a ninth (despite the finesse against the King failing).

Why did South bid as he did? There are three reasons that point to this bid:
  • 16 high card points (giving N-S a total of 28-30, which is well above the minimum for a typical 3NT contract); and
  • Poor quality Spades; and
  • A flat hand

At the other table, South used Stayman. The eventual 4 contract ran into a bad trump break and went down.
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#2 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-May-26, 14:34

I would do the same thing, but I think blaming this going down on a bad trump break is a bit much. What you're hoping for here is that you take the *same number* of tricks in NT as in spades; winning at MPs whenever you're right, and winning at IMPs when that number is 9 or fewer (tying if 10 or more, and not losing much if you're wrong by 1 trick).

But of course, tomorrow, the spades break 3-2, and the diamonds are 5-2 and are led (instead of the club) in NT.
When I go to sea, don't fear for me, Fear For The Storm -- Birdie and the Swansong (tSCoSI)
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#3 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-May-26, 15:54

View Postmycroft, on 2021-May-26, 14:34, said:

But of course, tomorrow, the spades break 3-2, and the diamonds are 5-2 and are led (instead of the club) in NT.
You'd still have fine chances here, I think? There's a chance the defenders can't stop you from taking two diamond tricks, but even failing that you can hold off and take the third round and squeeze the dangerous defender out of the long diamonds by running the hearts (assuming they are guarding the spades) or set up a safe 4th spade (on the provided 3-2 break with the 3-card suit being the safe hand, the other case). Even more, the club finesse may be into the safe hand. All kinds of chances!
29 HCP 3NT contracts are relatively robust.
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#4 User is offline   Douglas43 

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Posted 2021-May-27, 02:24

View Postmycroft, on 2021-May-26, 14:34, said:

I would do the same thing, but I think blaming this going down on a bad trump break is a bit much. What you're hoping for here is that you take the *same number* of tricks in NT as in spades; winning at MPs whenever you're right, and winning at IMPs when that number is 9 or fewer (tying if 10 or more, and not losing much if you're wrong by 1 trick).

But of course, tomorrow, the spades break 3-2, and the diamonds are 5-2 and are led (instead of the club) in NT.


Thanks Mycroft, good point about matchpoint pairs or IMPs teams. This was a teams match in a league against similar strength opponents and the case for bidding 3NT is strongest at teams, for the reason you have set out.. My partner made the 3NT bid.
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#5 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-May-27, 03:52

View Postmycroft, on 2021-May-26, 14:34, said:

I would do the same thing, but I think blaming this going down on a bad trump break is a bit much. What you're hoping for here is that you take the *same number* of tricks in NT as in spades; winning at MPs whenever you're right, and winning at IMPs when that number is 9 or fewer (tying if 10 or more, and not losing much if you're wrong by 1 trick).

But of course, tomorrow, the spades break 3-2, and the diamonds are 5-2 and are led (instead of the club) in NT.


3N still makes if a diamond is led by E from say Q10xxx because you can take the club finesse into the safe hand, it just may not score as well as 4. At IMPS 3N is clear (although it looks a lot less clear when partner decks with AKxx, Jxxx, xx, KQx on a diamond lead where 4 is cold on a 3-2 break, 3N isn't)
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#6 User is offline   LBengtsson 

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Posted 2021-May-27, 08:17

a fact not made here yet is that the responder hand is flat 4333 so no ruffing values. it is not only the quality of the that says a 3NT contract is better but the shape. even if the 1NT opener turn up with 5(332) it is unlikely that you make any more tricks with as trump as ruffing will be long hand.

bidding 3nt direct without using stayman will direct the opps towards a major suit lead. they will think you will be weak in major suits. the contract could go down if the opps lead low from AJtxx and partner has Qx or xx but who would lead low from this suit?
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#7 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-May-27, 08:35

My weak NT pair plays Keri, and explicitly has sequences that allow us to get to 3NT with a 4-4 major fit with two flat hands (sometimes even not finding the 4-4 fit). So yeah, I'm going to agree with this...

All I was saying with my first is that as always, bridge is a game of percentages (and cost-benefit analysis). It can be right, and still be wrong on this hand; therefore it has to be right in toto, not right because the other option went down.
When I go to sea, don't fear for me, Fear For The Storm -- Birdie and the Swansong (tSCoSI)
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#8 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-May-27, 10:06

View PostLBengtsson, on 2021-May-27, 08:17, said:

a fact not made here yet is that the responder hand is flat 4333 so no ruffing values. it is not only the quality of the that says a 3NT contract is better but the shape. even if the 1NT opener turn up with 5(332) it is unlikely that you make any more tricks with as trump as ruffing will be long hand.

bidding 3nt direct without using stayman will direct the opps towards a major suit lead. they will think you will be weak in major suits. the contract could go down if the opps lead low from AJtxx and partner has Qx or xx but who would lead low from this suit?


5332 vs 4333 may make lot more tricks in spades, example, partner has KQJxx, Qxx, xx, KQx you have an easy 11 in spades, if the 5 or 6 card diamond suit is with the spade A, you won't make 9 in NT, it's about controls in your short suits as well as tricks. You have the same 11 tricks in NT, but you don't get to cash them all.
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#9 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2021-May-28, 21:26

View PostDouglas43, on 2021-May-26, 13:46, said:

Stayman is probably the most-used convention in bridge. And that's not surprising. It is helpful and easy to use. But just occasionally a hand comes along where you could use Stayman, but shouldn't. This was one such hand:
1NT is 12-14


Note South's decision to bid 3NT direct. North had an easy ride; there were eight tricks on top and a club lead guaranteed a ninth (despite the finesse against the King failing).

Why did South bid as he did? There are three reasons that point to this bid:
  • 16 high card points (giving N-S a total of 28-30, which is well above the minimum for a typical 3NT contract); and
  • Poor quality Spades; and
  • A flat hand

At the other table, South used Stayman. The eventual 4 contract ran into a bad trump break and went down.



Its clearly not a 4 spades hand. You would hope to end in no trumps however you got there

I know its easy to excited but the opening NT is a fairly weak hand and the number of losers in south would lead to caution going much beyond 2S anyway, believe it or not :)
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#10 User is offline   P_Marlowe 

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Posted 2021-May-29, 06:16

Hi,

#1 just because responder is 4333, does not mean, that opener is 4333.
#2 since N/S play weak NT, my guess is, they will quite often open off shape NT,
which would make the argument #1 stronger

Given that you have add. points to spare, it is certainly a valid strategy to forego
Stayman.

With kind regards
Marlowe
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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#11 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-May-29, 07:36

View PostP_Marlowe, on 2021-May-29, 06:16, said:

Hi,

#1 just because responder is 4333, does not mean, that opener is 4333.
#2 since N/S play weak NT, my guess is, they will quite often open off shape NT,
which would make the argument #1 stronger

Given that you have add. points to spare, it is certainly a valid strategy to forego
Stayman.

With kind regards
Marlowe


I actually find strong NT is much more often opened offshape, particularly 5422s where the two long suits are not both minors.
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#12 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2021-May-29, 20:45

I keep looking at this hand because of the strange outcome and options

I ran a baby sim and strangely average tricks in NT and S look good at making 10 tricks but your variance in Spades is terrible

EDIT The initial sim is looking at both hands but when you look at South's view of everything alone you wouldn't go near spades game (64%) - part score like I said :) Even a jump to 3NT isn't great but its a good chance. Vulnerable too but at least at least equal vulnerability :)

EDIT 2. Sorry totally misread my NT sim. 3NT is a good bid :)

Was anyone in 4Sx
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#13 User is offline   Douglas43 

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Posted 2021-May-30, 02:21

View Postthepossum, on 2021-May-29, 20:45, said:

I keep looking at this hand because of the strange outcome and options

I ran a baby sim and strangely average tricks in NT and S look good at making 10 tricks but your variance in Spades is terrible

EDIT The initial sim is looking at both hands but when you look at South's view of everything alone you wouldn't go near spades game (64%) - part score like I said :) Even a jump to 3NT isn't great but its a good chance. Vulnerable too but at least at least equal vulnerability :)

EDIT 2. Sorry totally misread my NT sim. 3NT is a good bid :)

Was anyone in 4Sx


This was a teams game so the hand was only played twice. 4S was left undoubled, which was a good decision by our team-mates, as an escape to 4NT is available (4NT might go down on a Diamond lead but I made 10 tricks comfortably on a club lead).
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#14 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2021-May-30, 20:53

View PostDouglas43, on 2021-May-30, 02:21, said:

This was a teams game so the hand was only played twice. 4S was left undoubled, which was a good decision by our team-mates, as an escape to 4NT is available (4NT might go down on a Diamond lead but I made 10 tricks comfortably on a club lead).


Went down once, made once - a 50% game :)
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#15 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2021-June-29, 19:23

Switching the A and T makes this a more interesting hand to bid, particularly if you happen to play Serious (or Frivolous) 3NT.
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#16 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2021-July-04, 16:30

View PostGilithin, on 2021-June-29, 19:23, said:

Switching the A and T makes this a more interesting hand to bid, particularly if you happen to play Serious (or Frivolous) 3NT.


What auction are you suggesting where’s the above would come into play?

Also if you switch the !hA and !10 you have to remove a couple of points from the N hand.

Oh, I guess you are first of all assuming that N would open a minor.
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#17 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2021-July-04, 19:25

View PostVampyr, on 2021-July-04, 16:30, said:

What auction are you suggesting where’s the above would come into play?

Also if you switch the !hA and !10 you have to remove a couple of points from the N hand.

Oh, I guess you are first of all assuming that N would open a minor.

Yes, a 1 of suit opening. Whether a minor or 1 would depend on system. You then find the fit and now whether a pair can end up in 3NT becomes, I think, a somewhat more interesting question.
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