This convention, a variation of the Jacoby Transfer originally devised by Mr. Oswald Jacoby, is used by the responder whose partner has opened the bidding with 1 No Trump. The bridge community liked the original concept of Mr. Oswald Jacoby and created new variations.

Basics of the Concept

The concept of this convention was devised and developed for the responder, whose holding includes a long Minor suit and, generally, very few values or very strong values indicating a strong interest in a possible slam contract in a Minor suit.

Note to the Reader

The concept of Minor Suit Stayman is to indicate Minor suit length in both Minor suits.The concept, by general consensus, is employed in combination with two-suit transfer responses. However, since there is neither an official nor an original version of Minor Suit Stayman, the parameters of the concept can vary considerably.

Most versions, although admittedly not all, demand and require length in both Minor suits. Most versions, although admittedly not all, allow and permit for weak holdings and also for strong holdings as well. The partnerships contend that the concept is generally defined as having two meanings.

In such instances that the partnership agrees on two meanings for the Minor Suit Stayman concept, then it is generally agreed that the distribution is always a minimum of 5-4 if it is a strong holding as opposed to a 5-5 distribution if the holding is weak. The accepted agreement is that when a weak holding is held and communicated via bidding, then the opener is barred from bidding beyond 3 Diamonds.

This variation is also used to explore the possibility of a No Trump contract as the final contract and to determine whether of not the holding of the responder justifies a No Trump contract.

The original version of the Jacoby Transfer bids did not employ the bid of 2 Spades as a transfer bid. This bid became an idle bid and the ensuing variations took this feature under consideration to construe, invent, and develop other variations of the concept, especially for the Minor suits

Basically, the Minor Suit Stayman convention is applied as follows. Even with an overcall by the immediate opponent on the two level will have no bearing on the functionality of this concept since any overcall on the two level will not affect the concept. If the overcall is 2 Spades, then the partner of the No Trump bidder simply doubles to initiate this conventional method.

Opener   Responder   Meaning
1 NT   2   Responder wishes to inquire about the holding in the Minor suits.
3       Opener has a 4-card Club suit.
3       Opener has a 4-card Diamond suit.
3       Opener has both 4-card Minor suits and shows a control in Hearts.
3       Opener has both 4-card Minor suits and shows a control in Spades.
2 NT       Opener indicates interest in a possible Minor suit slam.
3 NT       Opener indicates no interest in a Minor suit slam.
    3 or 4   Responder shows a singleton in Hearts; the level is dependent.
    3 or 4   Responder shows a singleton in Spades; the level is dependent.

Notes

The Minor Suit Stayman convention was devised for specifically three types of holdings held by the responder, and which will be determined during the ensuing auction:

1. A holding with a 6-card plus Diamond suit and weak values.
2. A 5-5 distribution in both Minor suits and weak values.
3. A 5-4 distribution in both Minor suits and possible slam values.

Note: Some partnership understandings have the agreement that, after the auction shows slam interest, any rebid by the responder at the lowest possible level of No Trump promises a distribution containing doubletons in both Major suits.

This partnership understanding also includes the feature that if the auction allows the responder to safely bid 3 No Trump, then this rebid shows a mild interest in slam. If, however, the responder is able to jump one level and rebids 4 No Trump, then this rebid is quantitative, and requests the No Trump bidder to continue to slam with a maximum and to sign-off if holding a minimum. This rebid of 4 No Trump is not forcing.

Partnership Agreements

In several partnership agreements, there is also the understanding about the following auction:

Opener   Responder   Meaning
1 NT   2   Responder wishes to inquire about the holding in the Minor suits.
2 NT   3 or 3   Responder shows a singleton in Hearts and/or Spades.
anything   4 or 4   Responder shows a void in Hearts and/or Spades.

When seeking a slam in a Minor suit, if the responder bids and rebids a Major suit, the second bid of the same Major suit promises a void.

As one illustration for the responses of the No Trump bidder, the following example, showing a holding of the No Trump bidder, should clarify the reason behind a 3 Spade rebid after a 2 Spade response by the responder:

AQ6
J9
KQ73
AJ85
Opener   Responder   Meaning
1 NT   2   Responder wishes to inquire about the holding in the Minor suits.
3       Opener has both 4-card Minor suits and shows a control in Spades.

The No Trump bidder is showing his partner that he holds both a 4-card Club suit and a 4-card Diamond suit. Only a 4-card Minor suit is required when using the Minor Suit Stayman convention as compared with the Jacoby Transfer For The Minor Suits convention, where the Minor suit should contain at least a 5-card suit.

By bidding 3 Spades, the No Trump bidder promises a control feature in the Spade suit, and indicates possible interest in exploring for a slam in a Minor suit. This information, contained in one rebid, could prove to be invaluable if and when the responder should consider exploring for a slam in one of the Minor suits.

Continuations

The continuation of the auction is dependent on the rebid of the No Trump bidder. If the rebid shows any possible slam interest, then the partnership understanding should be solid and the partnership agreement must be adhered to, as in the following example:

Opener   Responder   Meaning
AQJ
AK95
K94
1095
 
65
Q7
AQ8763
A87
   
1 NT   2   Responder wishes to inquire about the Minor suits.
2 NT       Opener indicates interest in a possible Minor slam.
    3   Responder accepts the slam attempt by naming the desired Minor suit.
3       Opener cuebids his next higher-ranking control.
    3 NT   Responder bids game and does not cuebid his Club control.
6        

The No Trump bidder, by inference, realizes that the responder must have the first-round control in Clubs, otherwise the responder would not have accepted the slam attempt by naming the desired Minor suit of Diamonds. Therefore, the opener can reason that a slam contract in Diamonds is a sound contract.

In the above example, the responder becomes the declarer and drops the two losing Clubs on the winning Heart and Spade and/or finesses the King of Spades correctly. Whether or not the No Trump bidder decides to convert the final contract to a No Trump contract is absolutely dependent on his holding and is a judgment call.

Note: If the partnership agreement is to apply the Minor Suit Stayman convention, then this information must be made available to the opponents. There will also be other possible holdings than those shown above, which will demand different auctions than those presented here. The concept, however, remains the same and the rebids of the No Trump bidder and the responder should retain the same information as presented above.

Note: It is important for the partnership to recognize those rebids, which show slam interest before individually exploring for a possible slam. The rebids showing no interest in slam should be respected and accepted as a sign-off. An interesting article about the application of the Minor Suit Stayman convention is contained in the Bridge Bulletin, published by the ACBL, Issue January 2002, page 85, written by Mr. Max L. Hardy.

Note: This article has only been preserved and archived on this site in .pdf file format for future reference.

Minor Suit Stayman Over A 2 No Trump Opening Bid

Although not included in the original concept, the idea of employing Minor Suit Stayman following a 2 No Trump opening bid is completely acceptable by partnership agreement. The only requirement, generally accepted, is the fact that the responder hold a minimum distribution of 5-4 in both Minor suits and has an interest in establishing whether or not a slam is possible.

As with an opening of 1 No Trump, the responses are similar by an opening of 2 No Trump. The following schematic will clarify:

Opener   Responder   Meaning
2 NT       The range of the 2 No Trump opening bid is 20 to 22 high card points.
    3   Responder wishes to inquire about the holding in the Minor suits. The responder shows a minimum distribution of 5-4 in both Minor suits.
3 NT       The opener does not hold a 4-card Minor suit.
4       The opener promises a 4-card Club suit.
4       The opener promises a 4-card Diamond suit.
4       The opener signals slam interest in the Club suit or No Trump. Promises maximum values and at least a 5-card Club suit.
4       The opener signals slam interest in the Diamond suit or No Trump. Promises maximum values and at least a 5-card Diamond suit.

Once the 2 No Trump has clarified his holding and somewhat shown his distribution and strength, then the responder is in a position to make a more educated decision based on this additional information as to whether a slam is feasible. The responder will then either establish the final contract or request additional information in the following manner.

Continuances by the Responder

Responder   Meaning
Pass   If the responder believes that the forced rebid by the No Trump bidder is the best possible contract, then the responder will pass. This is to play.
3 NT   If the responder believes that the forced 3 No Trump rebid by the No Trump bidder is the best possible contract, then the responder will pass. This is to play.
4 NT   This second bid, following any bid by the No Trump bidder, is quantitative. The No Trump bidder may pass.
4   This bid is Gerber and asks the No Trump bidder for the number of Aces and/or Keycards held. (Note: some partnerships may employ Roman Keycard Gerber.)
5   This is a sign-off. Partner must pass
5   This is a sign-off. Partner must pass.
4 NT   Generally Roman Keycard Blackwood for either Minor suit.
6   To play.
6   To play.

The partnership may decide to adopt other Ace-asking, Control-asking, or Keycard-asking methods than those suggested above.

The partnership may also employ the Minor Suit Stayman conventional method over an opening bid of 3 No Trump. The rebids by the opener are generally the same, only one level higher. Although the partnership has very little bidding space to convey information, the exchange of information should suffice for the partnership to establish a final contract. The employment of the Useful Bidding Space Principle should also contribute to the exchange of additional information.

 

 

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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