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1NT with 4-4 majors 2/1 ACBL

#1 User is offline   dickiegera 

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Posted 2022-November-21, 17:14

1 NT opening

partner bids 2C stayman

With 4-4 in hearts and spades
which one do you bid first

and

WHY
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#2 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2022-November-21, 18:45

View Postdickiegera, on 2022-November-21, 17:14, said:

1 NT opening

partner bids 2C stayman

With 4-4 in hearts and spades
which one do you bid first

and

WHY

The standard approach is to bid 2H first.that allows responder to bid 2S with invitational values and 4 spades. If you reverse it, by bidding 2S first, then responder has to bid 2N with invitational values and 4 hearts. This is fine so long as opener has a hand with which he’d accept…he bids 3H ‘along the way’. However, when he passes 2N, you may be in an inferior contract, missing your 4-4 heart fit.

This is not important if you play that 2C promises a 4 card major (the normal way of doing this is to use 1N 2S as either clubs, any strength, or an invitational hand with no major. Opener bids 2N if he’d pass an invitational bid and 3C if he’d accept).

In one partnership we do in fact bid 2S with 4-4, after stayman. We do so because we have specialized sequences thereafter….1N 2C 2S 2N is forcing one round, showing 5+ clubs and 4 hearts, etc. but unless you’re prepared for a ,out of memory work, staying with the standard method is ok, and most partners will expect that style.
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#3 User is online   DavidKok 

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Posted 2022-November-22, 01:53

There is also a style where a 2NT response shows exactly 4=4 in the majors. I would not recommend it, but I've seen people play it.
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#4 User is offline   mw64ahw 

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Posted 2022-November-22, 02:46

 DavidKok, on 2022-November-22, 01:53, said:

There is also a style where a 2NT response shows exactly 4=4 in the majors. I would not recommend it, but I've seen people play it.

I use this in a Puppet Stayman variation 2NT/3NT so it will always be opener declaring.
It can be easy to forget the meaning if you have been used to playing a regular Stayman.
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#5 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2022-November-22, 03:52

As MikeH explains, if you play non-promosory Stayman (i.e. Stayman is used a.o. with invitational hands without a 4-card major), you should bid hearts first, but if you play a simple promisory Stayman it doesn't matter and you might as well do it randomly to reduce the amount of information opps receive (when the auction goes 1NT-2-2-4, it is nice if opps don't know whether opener has a 4-card hearts or not).

On the other hand, sometimes responder has a weak hand that is on the fence between passing 1NT and using Stayman, for example Qxx-Jxxx-Qxxx-Jx, and then it is maybe good to know that with 4-4 in the majors opener will bid hearts so you land in your 4-4 fit. You could then decide not to use Stayman with Jxxx-Qxx-Qxxx-Jx because of the risk of playing in a 4-3 fit in hearts even if a 4-4 fit in spades may be available.

You might also have the agreement, playing promisory stayman, that
1NT-2
2-2
has some fancy meaning, for example a relay, or a weak hand with four spades and longer diamonds. In that case it works better to bid hearts with 4-4.
This whole 'my partner paused so now I must trash the hand' attitude never worked for me --- DavidKok
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#6 User is online   Douglas43 

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Posted 2022-November-22, 04:39

I'm with Mikeh (usually a good place to be). Assuming promissory Stayman, and not the extra features as set out by helene_t:

If responder has hearts only and an invitational hand, you are forced to the three-level whichever method you play

However, 1NT-2-2-2 keeps you a level lower than 1NT-2-2-3 which can be handy at pairs
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#7 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2022-November-22, 06:00

View Posthelene_t, on 2022-November-22, 03:52, said:

As MikeH explains, if you play non-promosory Stayman (i.e. Stayman is used a.o. with invitational hands without a 4-card major), you should bid hearts first, but if you play a simple promisory Stayman it doesn't matter and you might as well do it randomly to reduce the amount of information opps receive (when the auction goes 1NT-2-2-4, it is nice if opps don't know whether opener has a 4-card hearts or not).

On the other hand, sometimes responder has a weak hand that is on the fence between passing 1NT and using Stayman, for example Qxx-Jxxx-Qxxx-Jx, and then it is maybe good to know that with 4-4 in the majors opener will bid hearts so you land in your 4-4 fit. You could then decide not to use Stayman with Jxxx-Qxx-Qxxx-Jx because of the risk of playing in a 4-3 fit in hearts even if a 4-4 fit in spades may be available.

You might also have the agreement, playing promisory stayman, that
1NT-2
2-2
has some fancy meaning, for example a relay, or a weak hand with four spades and longer diamonds. In that case it works better to bid hearts with 4-4.

In both of my partnerships, we use extended transfers after 1N 2D/H so that we can’t bid 1N 2H 2S 2N as invitational with 5 spades. For us that sequence shows 5S and 4+ clubs, gf. Thus we, as do all pairs who play extended transfers, have to go through stayman with 5S and invitational values.

We can’t use 1N 2C 2H 2S as natural with 4 spades..it’s invitational with 5S. Another reason why, for us, it doesn’t matter which major we show first as opener.in one partnership we show hearts and in the other, with more complex methods, we show spades.
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#8 User is online   DavidKok 

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Posted 2022-November-22, 06:32

This is getting beyond the scope of the original question, so my apologies in advance. I think Stayman has a number of flaws, some of which are highlighted in a transfer extension scheme. I've got a write-up of an alternative method that I think is far superior, but most people aren't willing to consider alternatives to Stayman so I saw no point in sharing it. I think there is a lot of room to improve on the somewhat popular 'Spademan' (transfer extensions and 5332 bids through 2) method.
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#9 User is online   AL78 

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Posted 2022-November-22, 06:54

View PostDavidKok, on 2022-November-22, 06:32, said:

This is getting beyond the scope of the original question, so my apologies in advance. I think Stayman has a number of flaws, some of which are highlighted in a transfer extension scheme. I've got a write-up of an alternative method that I think is far superior, but most people aren't willing to consider alternatives to Stayman so I saw no point in sharing it. I think there is a lot of room to improve on the somewhat popular 'Spademan' (transfer extensions and 5332 bids through 2) method.


I would be interested to see it. I have an interest in alternatives to the standard/default ways of doing things. Just because something is well established doesn't make it best.
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#10 User is offline   jdiana 

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Posted 2022-November-22, 07:04

Some of this seems overly complicated. If 2 promises a 4-card major, and opener is 4-4 in the majors, he can simply bid up the line. If he bids 2 and responder has four spades (and not four hearts), he will normally bid 2NT or 3NT and opener can correct to spades.

The method that David mentioned, where opener's 2NT shows 4-4 in the majors, is used by the Argine bidding engine. Patrick Laborde describes the full structure here (you'll need to scroll down to find his comment) - https://bridgewinner...fter-1nt-2c-2h/
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#11 User is offline   bluenikki 

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Posted 2022-November-22, 07:22

View Postdickiegera, on 2022-November-21, 17:14, said:

1 NT opening

partner bids 2C stayman

With 4-4 in hearts and spades
which one do you bid first

and

WHY

Here is another consideration. If responder intends to pass opener's rebid, opener would do well to bid their _stronger_ major.

Facing a weak 4=4=5=0 or 4=4=4=1 that won't matter much.

But what about 3=3=6=1 ?

Strong notrumpers may be willing to pay off to these rare holdings. But the holdings are much less rare facing a weak notrump.
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#12 User is online   AL78 

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Posted 2022-November-22, 07:31

View Postbluenikki, on 2022-November-22, 07:22, said:

Here is another consideration. If responder intends to pass opener's rebid, opener would do well to bid their _stronger_ major.

Facing a weak 4=4=5=0 or 4=4=4=1 that won't matter much.

But what about 3=3=6=1 ?

Strong notrumpers may be willing to pay off to these rare holdings. But the holdings are much less rare facing a weak notrump.


Would you bid Stayman with that or would you transfer into the minor?
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#13 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-November-22, 08:48

I was going to give the sarcastic (but absolutely correct) answer first, but chose not to.

Which is a good thing, because we got very good answers and very good reasoning from others.

But as I said, it's absolutely correct, so:

What: whichever suit my partner wants me to bid.
Why: because partner wants me to do it that way.
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#14 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-November-22, 09:50

View Postdickiegera, on 2022-November-21, 17:14, said:

1 NT opening

partner bids 2C stayman

With 4-4 in hearts and spades
which one do you bid first

and

WHY


I bid 2D (no 5 card major), because that's how our Stayman works.
A few others bid 2D (one or more 4 card majors) in a clumsy transition of 2NT "Puppet" (Blabbermouth).
Most people in my club bid 2H (4 card H, does not exclude S), which is the standard Stayman these days.
Older players will bid 3C (4-4 minimum) or 3D (4-4 maximum) and react indignantly if you expect them to alert or explain.
One pair bids 2S (4 card S, does not exclude S), Goren-style as already discussed here.
There are almost as many meanings for even a basic sequence like 1NT 2C; 2H 2S as their are pairs (and not all even have an agreement about it).
Stayman may be the most common convention in the world, but it's far from universally standardised (and often not very good).
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#15 User is offline   bluenikki 

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Posted 2022-November-22, 16:30

View PostAL78, on 2022-November-22, 07:31, said:

Would you bid Stayman with that or would you transfer into the minor?

transferring to the minor gets you to 3.
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#16 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2022-November-23, 03:25

View Postbluenikki, on 2022-November-22, 16:30, said:

transferring to the minor gets you to 3.


With a hand that could easily be worth 3 more tricks in the minor
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#17 User is offline   bluenikki 

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Posted 2022-November-23, 09:34

View PostCyberyeti, on 2022-November-23, 03:25, said:

With a hand that could easily be worth 3 more tricks in the minor

Yes. But the objective is to get to a non-silly contract before the doubling starts. Not necessarily the best contract.

By the way, it has always seemed to me madness to bid spades artificially when it's the opponents' hand.
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#18 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2022-November-23, 10:21

View Postbluenikki, on 2022-November-23, 09:34, said:

Yes. But the objective is to get to a non-silly contract before the doubling starts. Not necessarily the best contract.

By the way, it has always seemed to me madness to bid spades artificially when it's the opponents' hand.


There is something in that, but why must it be opps hand ? You can have 22-23 points with a long minor and not want to be in 3N
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#19 User is offline   Lovera 

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Posted 2022-November-23, 12:31

In this youtube video there is probably the answer of what to do with both the major suits. I 5 years ago found myself with the same problem using the original Stayman (I have Samuel Stayman's book on his system which obviously included the use of his convention which changed the way of bidding at the time by transferring the command of the bid to partner of 1NT opener considered weak side). The advent of transfers by Oswald Jacoby currently widely used today changed the bidding rules again. You can see the dialogue with Learn Bridge.nyc by reading my comments and answers (see Carlo Ingravallo):
https://youtu.be/xu3K28Y_G4g
Than with 4 and 4 you have to bid 2 (see also at 7:55)(Lovera)
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#20 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2022-November-23, 12:45

View PostDavidKok, on 2022-November-22, 01:53, said:

There is also a style where a 2NT response shows exactly 4=4 in the majors. I would not recommend it, but I've seen people play it.

One pair on the 2022 Spingold winners played that. They reached a slam (which arguably should have failed but was a ‘good’ slam) after 1N 2C 2N showing 4=4 minimum.

Obviously the main issue is that 2C has to deliver invitational values
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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