Transfer responses after opponent doubles our Stayman

Transfer responses

I wanted to share with you the innovations in competitive bridge bidding. My goal will therefore be to relay the work of bridge experts/researchers and give you my version of what I find. This month, transfer responses to Stayman after an adverse Double (and the inferences).

The situation:

Deal 1

Reminder: When an opponent doubles our Stayman, it is a lead-directing Double, showing Clubs (five good cards). This somewhat modifies opener’s responses and also responder’s possible developments since there is an additional notion to take into account: the Club stopper.

1. The classic system and its disadvantages

The classic system is to pass when you don’t have a Club stopper and bid directly if you do. This way of doing it presents two disadvantages:

  • It is wiser to have the one who doubled Stayman making the opening lead.
  • Opener should describe his majors as fast as possible in order to avoid being annoyed by a pre-empt on his left.

Yes, it is more interesting to have the one who doubled on lead because he might be reluctant to lead from ♣AQ109x or ♣KJ10xx or even ♣AJ10xx. Whereas his partner will never be worried about leading a Club, no matter if he has a doubleton honor, a singleton or three small. The opponents will therefore be better placed to establish the Clubs since the partner of the one who Doubled will lead the suit no matter what. If the opener passes under the pretext that he has two small cards in Clubs, his side could be hindered by a bid of 3♣ or especially 4♣ by opener’s LHO.

How to find a fit in a major? How to right-side the contract? As you can see, the classic system poses many problems without even looking at the little oversights, like: “What do we play when our partner bids 3♣ to show both majors and a stopper? Natural? With a Smolen-like system?” You will see that our solution has the answers to all these problems since the rule holds in one sentence: responder must play the hand.

2. Presentation of our innovation

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  1. Interesting idea, however it needs to be weighted against the eliminated benfit of having the strong hand concealed. The club suit is not the only thing that matters…

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