Stayman is an artificial  bid following your partner’s NT bid at any level.

This bid requires at least 8 good HCPs to consider bidding.  You are communicating to your partner that you have a 4-card major so that they can decide if the contract should be in NT or a suit bid.  

  • Recommend Stayman with a side suit singleton or doubleton for ruffing, otherwise just bid 2NT
  • Don’t bid Stayman if the backup bid of NT is not acceptable.
  • Don’t bid Stayman with a balanced 4-3-3-3 hand.  The hand will play better in NT.
    • 4-4 major isn’t an advantageous suit contract.

At the 2 level:  8+ points required

NT Opener’s re-bid:

  • Recognize that Responder is playing Stayman!
  • With a strong 4-card major, you have the choice to continue in NT or to bid a suit contract.  With two 4-card majors, see below. 
  •  Response:
    • With a 4+ card major and a side suit shortness, respond with your suit.
      • Without shortness, respond 2NT.
    • Without a major, respond 2.

Responder’s next bid:

  • If opener’s suit matches your’s, than proceed with the suit fit.
  • If not, you have a choice:
    • If Opener responded with 2, AND you have a 5-4 split in a major, respond with the 5-card suit. This will communicate to your partner that you can carry the contract in your hand if they have 3 cards in that suit.  It also leaves room to continue with the traditional 2NT bid.
    • Else, reply 2NT or 3NT depending upon partnership point value.
      • You have one major, they have the other.

When NT Opener has Two 4-card Majors:

The NT Opener should always bid the lowest ranking major first – 2. If the NT Responder’s major does not match the Opener’s, they respond 2NT.  The Opener then knows the major is in the other suit because they would not have responded with Stayman without a 4-card major.

Example bid –  1NT > 2  > 2 > 2NT > 3 > 4


This Youtube video on the Stayman convention is really good: