The Stayman convention is one of the first things you learn when you are starting to play bridge. It is used after partner has made a bid of No Trumps.
As a general rule it is usually better to play in a major suit contract (spades or hearts) than to play in No Trumps, but only if you can find an 8 card fit between you.
If partner opens the bidding with 1NT you know that they hold a balanced hand and have 12 – 14 points. If you have enough points in your hand (usually 11+) it is possible that you could bid for game (25 points in NT or a major suit). If you hold 5 cards in a major suit then you will bid it.
If you hold 4 cards in a major suit you want to know if partner also holds a 4 card major suit. You do this using the Stayman bidding convention.
After a bid of 1NT you bid 2 Clubs. The 2 clubs bid doesn’t mean you hold clubs, it is the Stayman convention bid, which asks partner if they hold a 4 card major.
These are the responses to a Stayman bid of 2 clubs:
- 2 Diamonds means partner doesn’t hold a 4 card major
- 2 Hearts means they hold 4 hearts (but could also hold 4 spades)
- 2 Spades means they hold 4 spades and NOT 4 hearts