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.

Basic Principle of the Concept

In order to determine whether a partner has opened a No Trump with a 5-card Major suit, Puppet Stayman, a variation, was further expanded by Mr. Christopher (Kit) Woolsey in cooperation with Mr. Steve W. Robinson and was first publicized in The Bridge World in April 1977 and complemented with an article in the same publication in April 1978, Volume 49, Number 7. The designation of Puppet Stayman was provided by Mr. Jeff Rubens.

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."

     
     

Five Card Stayman

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. Kit 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."

Version by Gerben Dirksen

This version of the Puppet Stayman conventional method was posted online by Mr. Gerben Dirksen of Tübingen, Germany. The assumption is made that Mr. Gerben Dirksen devised this alternative to the Puppet Stayman conventional method. Mr. Gerben Dirksen operates the Gerben's Bridge Blog online. However, there has been seldom activity since September 2006. Mr. Gerben Dirksen has joined the business world and has a LinkedIn account detailing his professional career.

     

Puppet Stayman Alternative by Gerben Dirksen

This version deals specifically with the opening of a 2 No Trump by partner and is devised to deal better with Minor-oriented holdings. The workings and the concept are illustrated and clarified below:

Opener Responder Meaning
2 NT 3 Puppet Stayman Alternative
3 This first response by the opener promises at least one unspecified 4-card Major suit, but no 5-card Major suit.
3 Promises neither a 4-card nor a 5-card Major suit.
3 Promises a 5-card Spade suit.
3 NT Promises a 5-card Heart suit.
If the first response by the opener is 3, the responder will bid the Major suit he does not have. With both 4-card Major suits, then the responder will bid 4 to show both and also no slam interest at the same time. In order to show both 4-card Major suits and slam interest, the responder will bid 4.
Other Continuances for the Responder:
3 This is a transfer to Hearts, which must be at least 5-cards in length.
3 This is a transfer to Spades, which must be at least 5-cards in length.
3 This is a transfer to 3 No Trump for a sign-off, or to indicate a Minor suit slam auction.
3 NT This first response is not forcing, but shows at least 5 Spades and at least 4 Hearts.

Example

The following illustration should clarify the concept of Puppet Stayman Alternative.

Opener Responder Meaning
AKJ4
AK6
Q43
A95
 
Q765
Q1043
K72
Q7
2 NT 3 Puppet Stayman Alternative after a 2 No Trump opening
3 This first response by the opener promises at least one unspecified 4-card Major suit, but no 5-card Major suit.
4 With both 4-card Major suits, then the responder will bid 4 to show both Major suits and also no slam interest at the same time.

 

 

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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