This blog provides supplementary thoughts and ideas to the site. If you haven't seen the main site, there is a lot there including the Martel and Rodwell interviews, photos, and articles. This blog is focused on advancing bridge theory by discussing the application of new ideas. All original content is copyright 2009 Glen Ashton.

Friday, April 02, 2010

April Issues May Changes

The April issues of both The Bridge World and the ACBL Bridge Bulletin arrived in the mail this week, and in typical fashion for me, I headed right to the bidding articles. Quebec City's Dimiter Zlatanov continues his intriguing set of articles on bidding concerns - in The Bridge World April issue he looks at bid assignments when the person bidding has shown a suit, and is now showing a fit for partner, where the partnership will reach game or slam in the fit suit. He suggests the following steps, and I'll use the sequence 1S-2D(GF);-2H-2S;-? as an example (not one of the examples in the article as its fun to see how well the idea extends itself):

Step 1 (3NT): no shortness (in this example exactly 5-4-2-2)
Step 2 (4C): singleton or void in clubs (using the article rule "the lowest possible bid shows shortness in the suit of its bid - I prefer the rule show shortness in reverse suit ranking order).
Step 3 (4D): singleton in diamonds.
Step 4 (4H): void in diamonds.

Btw if you were just going to buy one issue of The Bridge World, how could you beat an issue with a Spingold final write-up by Rosenberg, an interview with Zia, and Kantar cleverly discussing "Playing a Suit for No Tricks". I don't even need to give the full name of these authors, they are so well known. Linda Lee discusses the issue further here:

In the ACBL Bridge Bulletin, Billy Miller continues his new series of articles on bidding devices, The Coolest Gizmos and Gadgets. In the April issue he looks at an expert approach when Stayman is doubled. He recommends:


Pass: no club stopper
Redouble: four really good clubs or five decent ones
2D, 2H, 2S: normal Stayman replies, but with a club stopper

After 1NT-P-2C-X;-P-P-?

Redouble: tell me what you have with special replies (see below)
2D: A hand that used Stayman to pass whatever opener bid
2H: A hand that used Stayman to show both majors, weak
2S: A hand that used Stayman to invite in spades

Although not noted in the article, these 2D, 2H, and 2S bids by responder depend on the partnership agreement of when and when not Stayman is used - for example is Garbage Stayman allowed by the partnership.

After 1NT-P-2C-X;-P-P-XX-P;-? (here opener has shown no club stopper, and then responder has asked, with special replies)

2D: 4Hs, not 4Ss
2H: 4Ss, not 4Hs
2S: no four card major
2NT: both majors, minimum
3C: both majors, maximum

These replies are designed to get responder to play the hand if there is a major fit, in order that any club value that responder may have is protected on the opening lead - since opener has no club stopper, one needs methods over the normal approach of the 1NT opener plays most contracts.

All of this works, but my previous study of this type of treatment has shown one problem - if pass denies a club stopper, but otherwise does not show or deny anything in particular, the auction will often be 1NT-P-2C-X;-P-3C-?, and now the gadgetry above is off, and you need even more gadgetry.

If your partnership memory can handle it, you really want the special stuff immediately over the double, such as:


Pass: club stopper, can have good/great clubs - now redouble by responder asks
Redouble: no stopper and no major
2D: 4Hs, not 4Ss, no club stopper
2H: 4Ss, not 4Hs, no club stopper
2NT: both majors, minimum, no club stopper
3C: both majors, maximum, no club stopper

After 1NT-P-2C-X;-P-P-XX-P;-?

Pass : good/great clubs, and a hand that would bid 1NT-P-2C-X;-XX in standard.
2D: club stopper, no major
2H/S: natural, club stopper

To simply to a meta-agreement, play transfers over the double, and use pass to show a stopper if the double was lead directional, and use pass to show extra values if double showed strength. After the pass (stopper showing or extra values depending on meaning of double), redouble by partner asks for natural bidding. Thus we have:


Pass: club stopper, or good clubs - now redouble by responder asks for natural replies
Redouble: transfer, shows what a 2D bid would have shown, no stopper
2D: 4Hs, no club stopper
2H: 4Ss, no club stopper

This is not the coolest gizmo but quite workable in the heat of competition.



  • At 3:37 PM, Blogger Nigel Kearney said…

    I find that people double Stayman quite frequently with some club cards and most times their side has nowhere to run to when they can't beat 2C.

    So I would prefer to use all available steps to find out whether we should be playing 2CXX: XX with good clubs, pass with moderate clubs and only bid with poor clubs. XX by the Stayman bidder would be to play as well.

    Similarly if they double a transfer.


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