Lesson 10

Responding to No Trump with Stayman & Transfers

As well as the standard responses to a No-Trump opener, many players also play the "Stayman" convention. This is one of those unnatural bids that is trying to tell our partner more information about our hand. The response is very straightforward as we'll explain here.

Ouur partner has opened at 1NT and we have the following hand.

We can see our hand is balanced and we have 11 points. Using our existing convention, we would look to respond with 2NT, however, that's not the case with this hand.

Remember, ideally, we like being in a Heart or Spade contract and hey, look at our hearts in this hand, we have 4 of them. With 11 or more points and 4 of Major suit, this is when Stayman kicks in.

If you have 4+ Spades or Hearts and 11+ points we respond with 2.

Why 2? Well it's the smallest bid we can make up from 1NT but it doesn't mean we have clubs. What is it telling our partner is that we have 11+ points and at least 4 card in one of the Major suits.

If our partner has 4+ Hearts in their hand, they will then bid 2 to let us know they have hearts. If they have 4+ Spades, they would bid . And if they don't have a 4 card major? In that case they would respond back with 2 telling us they don't have a 4 card major.

Stayman also works as a reponse to 2NT, but rather than bidding 2 (which would be impossible!) we'd respond with 3.

The purpose of Stayman is to hunt for a fit in one of the Major suits.

Another option for responding to 1NT is to use something called Transfers.

A Transfer is a way to let your partner know when you have a nice 5 card major. If they have opened with 1NT then we know that they have a balanced hand and the fewest of any card they have will be 2. However, they may well have 3 or 4. If you have 5, then that gives us 8 or 9 cards. With points as well, this could lead to Game.

So, with 5 Hearts, we would respond 2. This is instructing our partner to bid 2 Hearts on their response.

Then with 5 Spades, we would respond 2. This is instructing our partner to bid 2 Spades on their response.

Note that you don't need a minimum amount of points to transfer!

By using transfers, you are getting your partner, who has potentially the strongest hand, to make the bid that will end up with them playing as declarer, hiding their strong hand from the opposition.

When playing a transfer, the partner MUST obey the request. This should also be alerted.

Transfers can also be used in response to 2NT, but obviously at the next level of response!