The origin of this conventional method is unknown. The designation is sometimes also referred to as Creeping Stayman. The concept behind this conventional method is the employment of two other conventional methods in the partnership agreement of Non-Forcing Stayman and the Jacoby Transfer method. It is mainly employed when the responder has a weak holding and decides that the partnership has a better chance in a suit contract rather than in a No Trump contract.

Parameters of the Concept

After the partnership has decided to adopt Jacoby Transfers to a minimum of at least a 5-card suit even with weak holdings, the inclusion of Crawling Stayman increases the possibilities of the responder, holding weak values, of rebidding 2 Hearts and/or 2 Spades as two additional escape routes for other weak distributional holdings. Under certain circumstances the responder, even with a weak holding, may decide that a game contract is possible.

     
     

Concept of Crawling Stayman

The following illustrations assist in understanding this concept.

Opener   Responder   Meaning
AQ3
KJ9
AQ106
J109
 
1064
A543
8752
6
   
1NT       Promising agreed No Trump parameters.
    2   Stayman asking for a 4-card Major suit.
2       Garbage Stayman. The responder passes any bid by partner

Since the partnership may have a better chance in making a suit contract, the responder employs the Stayman convention by bidding 2 Clubs and then passes whatever the opener rebids.

However, since such a holding by the responder limits his possibilities of responding, the concept has been altered to bid even on holdings such as a distribution of 4-4-1-4 or even 4-4-0-5 as in the following examples:

Responder
10643
A543
7
8652
 
Responder
10643
10643
 
87652

Holding either of the above the responder would bid the 2 Stayman inquiry response to a 1 No Trump opening by the partner. If the No Trump bidder rebids Hearts or Spades, then the responder simply passes. However, there must be a possibility for the responder to show even a 4-card Major suit if the No Trump bidder rebids 2 Diamonds. This is the concept behind Crawling or Creeping Stayman. This concept permits the partnership to escape into a suit contract with at least a 7-card fit.

Once the No Trump bidder responds with 2, then the responder rebids 2. The No Trump bidder will pass the 2 rebid with a 3-card Heart suit. But if the No Trump bidder has only a 2-card Heart suit and a 3-card Spade suit, then the No Trump bidder will correct by rebidding 2. However, in the rare case that the No Trump bidder has two Major suit doubletons, then the No Trump bidder should rebid 2 No Trump, which the responder must then correct to 3.

Note: Therefore, it is a partnership agreement that the responder hold four cards in both Major suits when employing the Crawling Stayman conventional method.

In some instances the responder will have the following holding:

Responder
1064
A543
7
98652
 
Responder
106
A543
87652
75

The shape is 3-4-1-5 or 2-4-2-5. After the Stayman inquiry, if the No Trump bidder rebids 2 Hearts, then the responder will pass. If the No Trump bidder rebids 2, then the responder has several options:

1. Holding better working values in Hearts than in the 5-card Minor suit, the responder will first rebid 2, which the responder would normally pass. However, the responder must bid the 5-card Minor suit to show a 4-card Heart suit and a 5-card Minor suit.
2. Holding better working values in the Minor suit and a weak 4-card Heart suit, the responder may decide to simply rebid the 5-card Minor suit and bypass the Major suit.

Note: It must be remembered that the employment of Stayman with the first response of the responder is considered to be the generally understood conventional method, whereas any further continuance then becomes Crawling Stayman.

Note: It must also be restated that if an immediate fit is found, whether a 4-4 fit or a Moysian fit of 4-3, then the partnership should agree that passing is the obligatory action and no continuance is possible per partnership agreement.

Note: It must also be noted that once the recognition of the employment of the Crawling Stayman conventional method is made, then, per partnership agreement, the rebids then become neither invitational nor forcing unless a continuance bid becomes forcing under certain circumstances.

In some instances the responder will have the following holding:

Responder
A543
1064
7
98652
 
Responder
A543
106
87652
73

If the holding of the responder includes a 4-card Spade suit and a 5-card Minor suit, then the identical principles hold true as above when the responder holds a 4-card Heart suit and a 5-card Minor suit. If the No Trump bidder, after a 2 Stayman inquiry rebids 2 and the 5-card Minor suit of the responder is Diamonds, then the responder passes. If the 5-card Minor suit is Clubs, then the responder will rebid 3, which converts the Stayman inquiry to Crawling Stayman, and which the No Trump bidder is required to pass.

If the No Trump bidder rebids 2, then the responder will correct to 2 when holding better working values in the 4-card Spade suit than in the 5-card Minor suit. However, if the working values are located in the 5-card Minor suit, then the responder will correct to the Minor suit.

After a correction to 2 by the responder, the No Trump bidder, holding only a 2-card Spade suit, has the possibility of showing this by rebidding 2 No Trump with a maximum strength or 3 Clubs with minimum strength.

A variation of this principle is that the No Trump bidder may also rebid 3 holding a 3-card Spade suit with working values and near maximum strength. Employing this variation the responder may:

1. Correct to 3 with working values in the 4-card Spade suit.
2. Pass if the Minor suit is Clubs and the working values are located in the Club suit.
3. Correct to 3 if the 5-card Minor suit is Diamonds.

After a 2 No Trump rebid by the opener, the responder, if the Minor suit is Clubs, will rebid 3 if the Minor suit is Clubs or correct to 3 if the Minor suit is Diamonds. The opener is then required to pass.

Game Invitation

There is also the possibility of inviting game after a 2 Spades rebid by the responder.

Opener   Opponent   Responder   Opponent
1 NT   Pass   2   Pass
2   Pass   2    

The above auction indicates that the responder has a 4-card Spade suit and an unknown 5-card Minor suit. However, the Crawling Stayman conventional method allows the responder to show game-invitational values.Game-invitational holdings are defined as:

Type 1:

Holdings with a 4-card Spade suit and 7 to 8 high card points or the equivalent of working values.

Type 2: Holdings with a 5-card Spade suit and otherwise unbalanced. Values of 7 to 8 high card points or the equivalent of working values.

It is not clear whether the responder, after a transfer bid of 2 Hearts, should continue the auction to 3 Spades as a game-invitational rebid. However, employing Crawling Stayman, the partnership can decide to use the idle bid of 2 No Trump in the following fashion.

1. After the 2 Clubs inquiry and a 2 Hearts rebid by the opener, then a rebid of 2 Spades promises a 4-card Spade suit, and becomes game-invitational.
2. After the 2 Clubs inquiry and a 2 Hearts rebid by the opener, then a rebid of 2 No Trump does not promise a 4-card Spade suit.

In order to accommodate the possibility that the responder has one of these more promising types of holdings, the opener makes a rebid when holding a moderate to good Spade holding and near maximum values for the No Trump opening. If the opener has a 4-card Spade suit and only moderate strength but sufficient values or one less than the normal number of Losing Tricks for a 1 No Trump opening, the opener can raise to 3 Clubs.

If the opener holds a 4-card Spade suit and maximum values, then the opener will make an artificial bid to further describe his holding:

1. A rebid of 3 Diamonds shows a doubleton in Clubs.
2. A rebid of 3 Hearts shows a doubleton in Clubs.

The following schematic summarizes the possible rebids by the opener after the following auction:

North   South   Meaning
1 NT       Promising agreed No Trump parameters.
    2   This is the Stayman conventional method, not the Crawling Stayman conventional method.
2       North holds a 4-card Heart suit.
    2   Using this so-called additional escape route, South initiates the Crawling Stayman conventional method and is seeking a possible game.
Pass       Shows a 3- or 4-card good Spade suit and minimum values.
3       Shows a 2- or 3-card weak Spade suit and minimum values
3       Shows a 4-card Spade suit, maximum values, and a doubleton Club suit.
3       Shows a 4-card Spade suit, maximum values, and a doubleton Diamond suit.
3       Shows a 4-card Spade suit and less than maximum values. Game-invitational.

In accordance with the concept of Crawling Stayman, the 3 Spades rebid by the opener is not forcing. In the case that the responder has a 4-card Spade suit and an unknown 5-card Minor suit, plus limited values and unshapely distribution, then the responder should preferably pass.

If the opener has rebid 3 Diamonds or 3 Hearts, then the responder must sign-off in 3 Spades with minimum values. The opener is required to pass even with maximum values since this is not a forcing bid. However, with maximum values and favorable distribution (4-3-1-5 minimum), then the responder should bid game if the opener has rebid 3 Diamonds or higher.

In the case that the opener rebids 3 Clubs after the 2 Spades rebid by the responder, showing maximum values but only a 2- or 3-card Spade suit, the responder must pass with minimum values and a Club suit. If the Minor suit of the responder, however, is Diamonds, then the responder will correct to 3 Diamonds. The opener is required to pass.

If the responder, on the other hand, has a game-invitational values, 7 high card points should be the minimum, and holds a 4-card Spade suit, the responder rebids game at 3 No Trump. If the responder holds game-invitational values and a 5-card Spade suit, then the responder will rebid 3 Spades, which is forcing for one round per partnership agreement. If the opener holds a 3-card Spade suit, then the opener will bid game in Spades. If the opener holds only a 2-card Spade suit, then the opener will bid game in No Trump.

Notes

The student of the Crawling Stayman conventional method will notice that many of the auctions are determined and dependent on the bids following the 2 Clubs Stayman inquiry. Since this is the case, the concept is presented here without many examples, since an illustration of all possible auctions would not contribute to the clarification of the concept. The student of the concept of Crawling Stayman should also be aware that the concept has been somewhat altered and modified by individual partnerships to meet the standards and requirements of different bidding systems. These revised and/or modified versions have not been included since they are limited in popularity and effectiveness.

Interference: It is left to the individual partnership to come to an agreement as to how the auction would / should proceed if there is interference. A definite partnership agreement is required as to the employment of a double and possibly a forced pass.

 

 

If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.

 


     
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