Using Stayman After a 2NT Opening

One of the first topics that beginning players learn is the use of Stayman after a 1NT opening by partner to ask if partner holds a 4 card major.

Don’t forget that you can also use Stayman after a 2NT opening.  A NT opening shows partner holds 20 -22 points (Acol bridge) or 21 – 22 points (American Standard).

You need 4+ points to reply, and it is worth checking to see if you can find a major suit fit with a hand like the one shown here for South, rather than bidding 3NT directly.

North
Spades: J 8 5
Hearts: A K 6 2
Diamonds: A K
Clubs:  A Q 9 4
South
Spades:  6 4
Hearts:  Q 9 7 6
Diamonds:  8 4 2
Clubs:  K 6 7 5

The Bidding
North       East    South     West
2NT          Pass    3 Clubs    Pass
3Hearts   Pass     4 Hearts

Can you see what could happen if South had bid 3 NT?  Defence might have led with a spade.  Between the two hands you hold 5 spades, which means the defending partners hold 8 spades.  If the spades split 5/3 or 6/4 you will lose the first 5 or 6 tricks.  A contract in hearts would allow you to trump after the loss of the first two tricks.