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puppet stayman & 5-4 majors

#1 User is offline   shevek 

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Posted 2009-January-15, 07:01

Puppet Stayman over 2NT doesn't quite work when responder has 5 spades & 4 hearts. One "solution" is to use a direct 3 to show this hand, but most seem to think 3 is better as a minors or perhaps a transfer. Anyway, bidding 3 to show that one hand seems extravagant and wrong-sides spades.

Without agreement, responder might just transfer to spades and bid 3NT. This misses 4-4 hearts and also 5-4 hearts, which is a bit of a worry.

Side-tracking a little, responder has a similar problem with 5 spades & 3 hearts. Transferring misses a 5-3 heart fit while 3 risks missing the 5-3 spade fit if opener bid 3NT. Even if opener bids 3 over 3, the spade fit is in jeopardy.
It goes
3 - 3
3 - 3

Does this show 3+ spades? I guess so, in which case you are ok.

Another solution to the original problem is to swap the meanings of the 3 & 3NT responses to 3, so 3NT shows 5 hearts, while 3 denies a 4-card major. That seems to work, though a big memory strain and wrong-sides a 5-3 spade fit

In straight Puppet, responder can ensure being dummy by bidding 4 or 4 with both majors after 2NT - 3 - 3. That's useful but it could be better to keep these bids as natural, at the expense of some wrong-siding. For instance, with
Kxx  Qxx  KJxxxx  x
you may like to check for a 5-3 major fit via 3 before bidding 4 natural over opener's 3. This could be slammish, or maybe just choice of (four possible) games, if that is your style.

If this is deemed worthwhile (okay maybe it isn't) there is a way to handle responder's 5-4 major hand. In response to 3, opener bids 3 to show either 4 hearts or THREE plus spades.

Then responder bids 3 as per usual with four spades. As suggested, opener bids 3 now with three of them, 3NT with 2-4 majors and 4+ with four spades, allowing a re-transfer.
Responder also bids 3 over 3 with 5-4 or 4-4 majors, solving the original problem while right-siding spades & wrong-siding hearts.
That last bit is bad but how bad? Remember it's only when responder has both majors and opener has 4 hearts.
An extra gain is in dealing with responder's 5-3 majors, alowing you to reach either 5-3 major fit from opener's side.
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#2 User is offline   whereagles 

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Posted 2009-January-15, 07:22

This isn't quite what you asked for, but I guess I should say it. Classic puppet stayman is only ok because it's basically a natural convention, with natural responses. It is by no means the most efficient asking bid after 2NT. Better solutions involve

- Swapping the meanings of the 3NT reply with 3 (called muppet stayman, I believe).

- Allowing the 3 reply to puppet 3 to have 3+ spades (Ron Klinger style, I think).
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#3 User is online   helene_t 

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Posted 2009-January-15, 07:25

Yes, some pairs at my local club plays 2N-3-3N as denying three spades.
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#4 User is offline   BobElliott 

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Posted 2009-January-15, 07:54

A "better" method called FCTS (FiveCardTransferStayman) was written
up in the BRIDGE WORLD sometime in the 1980's .I have been using it
ever since and it works great:
2NT - 3C -
3D=NO FIVE CARD MAJOR/NOT 4H/MAY HAVE 4S.
(3H SHOWS 4/5 S AND ASKS SPADE LENGTH:3S=3 3NT=2 4S=4).
(3S SHOWS 3S & 5H).
3H=4/5 H & NOT 4S (3S ASKS: 3NT=4H 4H=5H).
3S= 5S.
3NT=44 MAJORS. (THEN 4C & 4D ARE TEXAS TRANSFERS)

2NT - 3H(TRANSFER) -
3NT = 2S & 5H.

2NT - 3D(TRANSFER) -
3H - 3S=4S & 5H.

2NT - 3NT=SLAM INV.+ 55MAJORS.

(THEREFORE 3C IS USED WITH 3S&5H/5S&4H/4S&4H/4S OR 4H...
" 3D " " " 4S&5H...
" 3H " " " 5S & 0-3 H.

YOU WILL NEVER MISS A 5-3 FIT...HOPE THIS IS HELPFUL.
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#5 User is offline   kenrexford 

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Posted 2009-January-15, 08:02

BobElliott, on Jan 15 2009, 08:54 AM, said:

A "better" method called FCTS (FiveCardTransferStayman) was written
up in the BRIDGE WORLD sometime in the 1980's .I have been using it
ever since and it works great:
2NT - 3C -
3D=NO FIVE CARD MAJOR/NOT 4H/MAY HAVE 4S.
(3H SHOWS 4/5 S AND ASKS SPADE LENGTH:3S=3 3NT=2 4S=4).
(3S SHOWS 3S & 5H).
3H=4/5 H & NOT 4S (3S ASKS: 3NT=4H 4H=5H).
3S= 5S.
3NT=44 MAJORS. (THEN 4C & 4D ARE TEXAS TRANSFERS)

2NT - 3H(TRANSFER) -
3NT = 2S & 5H.

2NT - 3D(TRANSFER) -
3H - 3S=4S & 5H.

2NT - 3NT=SLAM INV.+ 55MAJORS.

(THEREFORE 3C IS USED WITH 3S&5H/5S&4H/4S&4H/4S OR 4H...
" 3D " " " 4S&5H...
" 3H " " " 5S & 0-3 H.

YOU WILL NEVER MISS A 5-3 FIT...HOPE THIS IS HELPFUL.

Wow. Someone I know came up with this independently (or claimed to). I've never heard of it before that, but I agree that it is great, covering everything.
"Gibberish in, gibberish out. A trial judge, three sets of lawyers, and now three appellate judges cannot agree on what this law means. And we ask police officers, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and citizens to enforce or abide by it? The legislature continues to write unreadable statutes. Gibberish should not be enforced as law."

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#6 User is offline   Fluffy 

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Posted 2009-January-15, 09:06

If you are willing to play complicated things why don't you open a strong 1? :(.

A solution popular around here is 2NT-3NT showing 5 spades and 4 hearts.

My solution is to give up puppet stayman (I never ask for 5 card majors with 3 cards anyway) and use smolen at the 3 level.
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#7 User is offline   Hanoi5 

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Posted 2009-January-15, 10:34

One of the concerns after partner opens NT is to have him play most of the hands. The system BobElliot mentioned does pretty fine in that area, only letting responder play when he has 4 and 5.

View Postwyman, on 2012-May-04, 09:48, said:

Also, he rates to not have a heart void when he leads the 3.


View Postrbforster, on 2012-May-20, 21:04, said:

Besides playing for fun, most people also like to play bridge to win


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#8 User is offline   jdonn 

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Posted 2009-January-15, 10:44

Hanoi5, on Jan 15 2009, 11:34 AM, said:

One of the concerns after partner opens NT is to have him play most of the hands. The system BobElliot mentioned does pretty fine in that area, only letting responder play when he has 4 and 5.

If you are so concerned about it, you can easily find every fit and have opener play all the hands if you don't worry about 4-5 and 5-4 majors with opener.

3: 4 spades or no major
---- 3: Spade length ask, either 4 spades or 5-4 majors
-------- 3: 3 or 4 spades
------------ 3NT: 4 spades (higher would be 5-4 majors)
-------- 3NT:2 spades
---- 3: Transfer to 3NT
---- 3NT: 4-5 majors
---- 4 (or 4): 5-5 majors
3: 4 hearts, may or may not have 4 spades
---- 3: Transfer to 3NT, fewer than 4 spades
---- 3NT: 4 spades
3: 5 spades
3NT: 5 hearts

Since all 4-5, 5-4, and 5-5 major hands are covered, this also frees up transferring to one major then bidding the other for whatever you feel like. It's not so different from his suggestion now that I read it more carefully, so maybe it's more a matter of followups.

I'm not saying I recommend playing this since there are lots of artificial bids they can double, but just saying it satisfies a lot of the goals people aim at over 2NT.
Please let me know about any questions or interest or bug reports about GIB.
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#9 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2009-January-15, 11:18

Personally, I think that the cost of this sort of thing in terms of information leakage doesn't justify the gains, but:

shevek, on Jan 15 2009, 02:01 PM, said:

If this is deemed worthwhile (okay maybe it isn't) there is a way to handle responder's 5-4 major hand. In response to 3, opener bids 3 to show either 4 hearts or THREE plus spades.

Then responder bids 3 as per usual with four spades. As suggested, opener bids 3 now with three of them, 3NT with 2-4 majors and 4+ with four spades, allowing a re-transfer.
Responder also bids 3 over 3 with 5-4 or 4-4 majors, solving the original problem while right-siding spades & wrong-siding hearts.

You can avoid the rightsiding problem by playing:

3 = 4 spades or a 3NT bid (opener bids 3 with four of them)
3 = 4 hearts
3NT = 4-4 majors, non-forcing
4 = 5 + 4, to play game
4 = 4-4 majors, slam try
4/ = five of linked minor, slam try

You can deal, imperfectly, with the 5-3 major hands by playing that 2NT-3; 3 and 2NT-3; 3NT show five of the other major. Responder can then transfer back to either major at the four level.
... that would still not be conclusive proof, before someone wants to explain that to me as well as if I was a 5 year-old. - gwnn
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#10 User is offline   kfay 

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Posted 2009-January-15, 11:23

BobElliott, on Jan 15 2009, 08:54 AM, said:

A "better" method called FCTS (FiveCardTransferStayman) was written
up in the BRIDGE WORLD sometime in the 1980's .I have been using it
ever since and it works great:
2NT - 3C -
3D=NO FIVE CARD MAJOR/NOT 4H/MAY HAVE 4S.
(3H SHOWS 4/5 S AND ASKS SPADE LENGTH:3S=3 3NT=2 4S=4).
(3S SHOWS 3S & 5H).
3H=4/5 H & NOT 4S (3S ASKS: 3NT=4H 4H=5H).
3S= 5S.
3NT=44 MAJORS. (THEN 4C & 4D ARE TEXAS TRANSFERS)

2NT - 3H(TRANSFER) -
3NT = 2S & 5H.

2NT - 3D(TRANSFER) -
3H - 3S=4S & 5H.

2NT - 3NT=SLAM INV.+ 55MAJORS.

(THEREFORE 3C IS USED WITH 3S&5H/5S&4H/4S&4H/4S OR 4H...
" 3D " " " 4S&5H...
" 3H " " " 5S & 0-3 H.

YOU WILL NEVER MISS A 5-3 FIT...HOPE THIS IS HELPFUL.

I play this structure. I think it's great.

A big plus is that 2N-3N is natural.

I still use 2N-3 ans minor hands, also.
Kevin Fay
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#11 User is offline   rbforster 

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Posted 2009-January-17, 03:42

BobElliott, on Jan 15 2009, 08:54 AM, said:

2NT - 3H(TRANSFER) -
3NT = 2S & 5H.

...

YOU WILL NEVER MISS A 5-3 FIT...HOPE THIS IS HELPFUL.

Am I reading this correctly that you can't stop in 3 with a weak hand and 6+ spades? It seems like opener is going to reject our transfer and bid 3N at least some of the time :).
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#12 User is offline   shevek 

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Posted 2009-January-17, 07:19

jdonn, on Jan 15 2009, 11:44 AM, said:

Hanoi5, on Jan 15 2009, 11:34 AM, said:

One of the concerns after partner opens NT is to have him play most of the hands. The system BobElliot mentioned does pretty fine in that area, only letting responder play when he has 4 and 5.

If you are so concerned about it, you can easily find every fit and have opener play all the hands if you don't worry about 4-5 and 5-4 majors with opener.

3: 4 spades or no major
---- 3: Spade length ask, either 4 spades or 5-4 majors
-------- 3: 3 or 4 spades
------------ 3NT: 4 spades (higher would be 5-4 majors)
-------- 3NT:2 spades
---- 3: Transfer to 3NT
---- 3NT: 4-5 majors
---- 4 (or 4): 5-5 majors
3: 4 hearts, may or may not have 4 spades
---- 3: Transfer to 3NT, fewer than 4 spades
---- 3NT: 4 spades
3: 5 spades
3NT: 5 hearts

Since all 4-5, 5-4, and 5-5 major hands are covered, this also frees up transferring to one major then bidding the other for whatever you feel like. It's not so different from his suggestion now that I read it more carefully, so maybe it's more a matter of followups.

I'm not saying I recommend playing this since there are lots of artificial bids they can double, but just saying it satisfies a lot of the goals people aim at over 2NT.

That does good stuff and bad.
One negative is that it descourages responder from checking for a 5-cd major with opener because a denial reveals too much, compared to the normal Puppet
2NT - 3 - 3 - 3NT
which doesn't guide the defence as much.
Also, doesn't work when responder uses 3 with 5-3 Majors & opener has 3-4 say.
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#13 User is offline   jdonn 

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Posted 2009-January-17, 10:35

shevek, on Jan 17 2009, 08:19 AM, said:

That does good stuff and bad.
One negative is that it descourages responder from checking for a 5-cd major with opener because a denial reveals too much, compared to the normal Puppet
2NT - 3 - 3 - 3NT
which doesn't guide the defence as much.
Also, doesn't work when responder uses 3 with 5-3 Majors & opener has 3-4 say.

I'm not sure why I'll stick up for it since I don't even play it. But regarding your points.

1. That it gives away too much information.
I do not agree. When the auction goes 2NT - 3 - 3 - 3NT in normal puppet stayman, it would go 2NT - 3 - 3 - 3 - 3NT, (giving away no more information than normal stayman does) or 2NT - 3 - 3 - 3 - 3NT, giving away arguably less information than regular puppet stayman does. Why do you think it gives away more?
2. That responder could be 3-5 or 5-3 in the majors.
It's supposed to be part of a system where you transfer with those, and opener bids one step above the transfer with a doubleton in your major and 5 in the other. So those are not missed.
Please let me know about any questions or interest or bug reports about GIB.
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#14 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2009-January-17, 11:43

Maybe it's worth mentioning that....

(1) Some of these methods prevent responder from signing off with a weak hand and a long major.
(2) Some of the methods make it more difficult to find a minor suit slam by disallowing responder to bid stayman without a four-card major.
(3) Some of these methods involve a lot of artificiality on what are basically signoff auctions, giving opponents chances to double for the lead.
(4) Sometimes people forget that no one holds a gun to your head forcing you to open 2NT with a five-card major. If you have the sort of hand where it's really likely that 4M on a 5-3 is superior to 3NT, maybe you should open 1M. You don't miss all that many games this way as partner is not that likely to pass with a hand worth game opposite a 20-count.
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#15 User is offline   jdonn 

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Posted 2009-January-17, 11:53

awm, on Jan 17 2009, 12:43 PM, said:

Maybe it's worth mentioning that....

(1) Some of these methods prevent responder from signing off with a weak hand and a long major.
(2) Some of the methods make it more difficult to find a minor suit slam by disallowing responder to bid stayman without a four-card major.
(3) Some of these methods involve a lot of artificiality on what are basically signoff auctions, giving opponents chances to double for the lead.
(4) Sometimes people forget that no one holds a gun to your head forcing you to open 2NT with a five-card major. If you have the sort of hand where it's really likely that 4M on a 5-3 is superior to 3NT, maybe you should open 1M. You don't miss all that many games this way as partner is not that likely to pass with a hand worth game opposite a 20-count.

1. That's true although it can work well too. Responder 35(23) and opener 5233.
2. You are making a completely unjustified assumption I believe. Maybe someone posted a method like that, but for the most part no one has even defined their 3 response or bids above 3NT after stayman. For example, I didn't post my entire method but it deals with minor suit hands far far better than standard does.
3. That's true, I think it was admitted by anyone who posted such a method, but if not then it should be.
4. I believe it's "the gods of correct bidding" holding the gun to my head. :o If you don't open a balanced 20 with 2NT, then you can never show a balanced 20. A 3NT rebid without competition does not show that hand. Besides there are too many advantages to hiding the opponents not knowing about your major when it goes 2NT 3NT. I think you should take the logic of 4. to mean responder shouldn't ask all the time, not that opener shouldn't open 2NT.
Please let me know about any questions or interest or bug reports about GIB.
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#16 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2009-January-17, 12:11

jdonn, on Jan 17 2009, 12:53 PM, said:

2. You are making a completely unjustified assumption I believe. Maybe someone posted a method like that, but for the most part no one has even defined their 3 response or bids above 3NT after stayman. For example, I didn't post my entire method but it deals with minor suit hands far far better than standard does.

My concerns are methods like these:

jdonn said:

3: 4 spades or no major
---- 4 (or 4): 5-5 majors


BobElliot said:

3NT=44 MAJORS. (THEN 4C & 4D ARE TEXAS TRANSFERS)


BTW I disbelieve in your "gods of correct bidding." It is very easy to show 20-21 balanced after opening 1M using Gazzilli, and perhaps simpler than playing a complicated puppet method over 2NT as well. My observation is that when 1M is passed out on these hands I almost always obtain a better result than playing in 2NT. Slam bidding also becomes easier when partner has a good hand (look how much space I saved) and I almost never miss a game.

There are two disadvantages to opening 1M: sometimes it helps the opponents avoid leading the major suit when they would've lead it against 3NT, and sometimes it "wrong-sides" a contract in notrump or the other major. Against this, the more convoluted your puppet methods and the more frequently they are used, the more often opener's major will be revealed anyway... and I don't feel compelled to always open 1M with 5332 in this range either, and can choose to open in notrump if my hand is tenace-heavy or 1M if I have a lot of aces or honor combinations.
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#17 User is offline   jdonn 

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Posted 2009-January-17, 12:23

awm, on Jan 17 2009, 01:11 PM, said:

My concerns are methods like these:

jdonn said:

3: 4 spades or no major
---- 4 (or 4): 5-5 majors

3 was a transfer to 3NT in that spot. So you get four ways to bid a minor after stayman (one of which is used by 5-5 majors) instead of 2 ways to bid a minor. Like I said you were making an unjustified assumption. Minor suit slam bidding is a plus for more complicated methods (in general) here, not a minus. In fact, it's so much better there that the full method even allows a signoff in 4 after some auctions starting with stayman! Not because I think that is at all useful, but because I literally had more bids available than hands I could think of to show with one or both minors so it was free.

As for opening the major with a hand in the 2NT range, by your own admission you lose the chance they lead the major into you, you can (usually do?) wrongside the hand in notrump, and you would desire to play another complicated convention to make it work. Meanwhile you admit you will open 2NT with a five card major some amount of the time anyway, so you might still want puppet stayman! I do not see this as solving someone's problems.
Please let me know about any questions or interest or bug reports about GIB.
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#18 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2011-March-17, 07:04

View PostBobElliott, on 2009-January-15, 07:54, said:

A "better" method called FCTS (FiveCardTransferStayman) was written
up in the BRIDGE WORLD sometime in the 1980's .I have been using it
ever since and it works great:
2NT - 3C -
3D=NO FIVE CARD MAJOR/NOT 4H/MAY HAVE 4S.
(3H SHOWS 4/5 S AND ASKS SPADE LENGTH:3S=3 3NT=2 4S=4).
(3S SHOWS 3S & 5H).
3H=4/5 H & NOT 4S (3S ASKS: 3NT=4H 4H=5H).
3S= 5S.
3NT=44 MAJORS. (THEN 4C & 4D ARE TEXAS TRANSFERS)

2NT - 3H(TRANSFER) -
3NT = 2S & 5H.

2NT - 3D(TRANSFER) -
3H - 3S=4S & 5H.

2NT - 3NT=SLAM INV.+ 55MAJORS.

(THEREFORE 3C IS USED WITH 3S&5H/5S&4H/4S&4H/4S OR 4H...
" 3D " " " 4S&5H...
" 3H " " " 5S & 0-3 H.

YOU WILL NEVER MISS A 5-3 FIT...HOPE THIS IS HELPFUL.
Good stuff but in the sequence
2N - 3 -
3 - ??
  • 3 = 4/5
  • 3 = 3 & 5
  • 3N = presumably to play
might it be better to exhange the meanings of 3 and 3N i.e
  • 3 = 4/5
  • 3 = Puppet to 3N
  • 3N = 3 & 5

Similarly after
2N - 3 -
3 - ??
  • 3 = Puppet to 3N (could be clarified later as slam try with )
  • 3N = 4

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#19 User is offline   bluecalm 

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Posted 2011-March-17, 07:42

Quote

My solution is to give up puppet stayman (I never ask for 5 card majors with 3 cards anyway) and use smolen at the 3 level.


+1
I think it's not only the simplest but also by far the best solution which allows you a lot of freedom with bidding 5-4 hands as well as minor slam tries.
I am happy one of my partners convinced me to this. Saved me a lot of hours of working out the best scheme after 2NT and a lot of points by less than optimal 1st leads of opponents.
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#20 User is offline   han 

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Posted 2011-March-17, 08:22

I like the Romex structure a lot.
Please note: I am interested in boring, bog standard, 2/1.

- hrothgar
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