During the evolution of the game of bridge, the definition of a No Trump opening has been defined, refined, and defined again and again. It is presently general practice to open a holding with 1 or 2 No Trump while holding a 5-card Major suit. In order to determine whether a partner has opened a No Trump with a 5-card Major suit.

In order to achieve this goal the concept of Puppet Stayman, a variation, was further expanded by Mr. Christopher (Kit) Woolsey in cooperation with Mr. Steve W. Robinson and was first publicized in Bridge World in April 1977 and complemented with an article in the same publication in April 1978.

Note: The designation of Puppet Stayman was provided by Mr. Jeff Rubens.

Note: The English word puppet can be employed either as a noun or a verb. The word mainly means a small-scale figure (animal or person), which can be controlled by an outside force. Synomyms are: doll and marionette. For the bridge player the word puppet has the understanding that it signifies one whose acts are controlled by an outside force or influence. The word was first introduced into the English language in the year 1538. The etomology is: Middle English popet youth, doll, from Middle French poupette, diminutive of poupe doll, from Vulgar Latin puppa, alteration of Latin pupa.

     
     

Puppet Stayman

The designation of Puppet Stayman was provided by Mr. Jeff Rubens. This concept is also known as the Five Card Stayman. A summary of the rebids of the responder after a first rebid by the opener is presented below and shows which rebids are invitational and which are game-forcing.

Side Note: In the original published issue of April 1977, Mr. Christopher Woolsey gives credit for the development of the concept to Mr. Neil Silverman of New York. The following is taken from the original publication. Thanks to Mr. Michael Nistler for this contribution.

"A superior structure was developed by Neil Silverman of New York, my partner Steve Robinson and I have expanded it into a highly complex and successful system. The basic elements can easily be adapted to any existing transfer structure -- in fact, Steve and I first played it in the LM Men's Pairs in Pittsburg after five minutes discussion."

The information presented on this web page contains the information as presented by Mr. Neil Silverman and Mr. Steve Robinson and published in The Bridge World magazine, issue of November, 2000.

Concept of Puppet Stayman

The following illustration should clarify the concept of Puppet Stayman. It must be remembered that, in order to employ the Puppet Stayman convention, the same requirements for the Stayman convention are necessary. The holding of the responder must contain at least 8 high card points or the equivalent of an evaluation, which constitutes 8 points.

Opener   Responder
AKQ4
A76
Q43
J54
 
J765
KJ43
K72
Q7
1 NT   2

The responder has sufficient values for game, but wants to know if his partner has a 5-card Major suit. With no 5-card Major suit, the opener will respond:

Opener
AKQ4
A76
Q43
J54
2

If the responder only has one 4-card Major suit, then the responder rebids the Major suit, which he does not have.

Responder
J87
KJ43
K72
Q76
2

If the responder has four cards in both Major suits, then the responder rebids:

Responder
J876
KJ43
K72
Q7
2 NT

Under these circumstances, the No Trump bidder can select the correct denomination without being forced to reveal his exact holding to the opponents, who might visualize the correct lead.

If the No Trump bidder has a 5-card Major suit, then the No Trump bidder will simply rebid this suit.

Opener   Responder   Meaning
AQ984
AK
Q43
J54
 
J765
QJ43
A72
Q7
   
1 NT   2    
2       Promises a 5-card Spade suit.

The responder will then set the final contract.

Summary

The following summary of the rebids of the responder are outlined below and are based on the first rebid of the opener of 2 Diamonds indicating no 5-card Major suit. The responder has several options, depending on held values, to place the contract correctly and to show distribution. The concept allows the responder to use invitational rebids, show distribution, and game-forcing rebids. These rebids should be the guidelines as shown in the examples above.

Opener   Responder   Meaning
1 NT   2   Asking for a 5-card Major suit. Promises at least 8 points in valuation.
2       This first response by the opener denies a 5-card Major suit and is a Relay bid.
    2   Shows a 4-card Spade suit, fewer than 4 Hearts.
    2   Shows a 4-card Heart suit, fewer than 4 Spades.
    2 NT   Shows a 4-card Spade suit and a 4-card Heart suit. This bid is invitational. Opener may pass with minimum.
    3   Shows a 4-card Heart suit, a 4- or 5-card Spade suit. Game-forcing.
    3   Shows a 4-card Spade suit, a 4- or 5-card Hearts suit. Game-forcing.
    3 NT   Shows no 4-card Major suit and game values.
    4 NT   This response is slam invitational and is accepted by the opener only if holding maximum values.

Minimum Values or Maximum Values

The opener can also show minimum values or maximum values depending on the auction as shown in the following auctions below, which deny the possession of any 5-card Major suit:

Opener   Responder   Meaning
1 NT   2   Asking for a 5-card Major suit. Promises at least 8 points in valuation.
2       This first response by the opener denies a 5-card Major suit and is a Relay bid.
    2   Shows a 4-card Spade suit, fewer than 4 Hearts.
2       Shows a 4-card Spade suit and minimum values.
2 NT       Shows no fit for the Spade suit and minimum values.
3 NT       Shows no fit for the Spade suit and maximum values.
4       Shows a 4-card Spade suit and maximum values.

In the following auction, the responder shows a 4-card Heart suit, and the opener can show either minimum or maximum values:

Opener   Responder   Meaning
1 NT   2   Asking for a 5-card Major suit. Promises at least 8 points in valuation.
2       This first response by the opener denies a 5-card Major suit and is a Relay bid.
    2   Shows a 4-card Heart suit, fewer than 4 Spades.
2 NT       Shows no fit for the Heart suit and minimum values.
3       Shows a 4-card Heart suit and minimum values.
3 NT       Shows no fit for the Heart suit and maximum values.
4       Shows a 4-card Heart suit and maximum values.
     

Justin Lall and Puppet Stayman

Website - An article authored by Mr. Justin Lall can be found on his website about a variation of the concept of Puppet Stayman After a 1 No Trump Opener. He includes all possible responses and clarifies the possible advantages of his method.

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

Etymology of the word Puppet:

Middle English popet meaning youth, doll, from Middle French poupette, diminutive of poupe doll, from Vulgar Latin puppa, alteration of Latin pupa. Employed since the year of 1538.

Definitions

1. a small-scale figure (as of a person or animal) usually with a cloth body and hollow head that fits over and is moved by the hand.
2. one whose acts are controlled by an outside force or influence.

Most Famous Puppet of Theatre, Stage, and Television in the United States

Charley McCarthy

 

 

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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