By Barbara Seagram
Checkback Stayman is a nifty convention which is used most commonly after an opening bid of one of a minor and then a one of a major response with the opening bidder then jumping to 2 NT.
Why are we doing this?
The opening bidder may also have a four card other major suit OR may have 3 card support for the responder’s 5 card major.
Let’s have a look at above auction again. The responses to 3♣ are as follows:
- 3♦ says: I do not have 3 card support for your major suit (♥) nor do I have 4 cards in the other major (♠).
- 3♥ says: I have 3 card support for your ♥ suit but I do NOT have 4 spades.
- 3♠ says: I have a 4 card ♠ suit but do not have 3 card support for your ♥ suit.
- 3 NT says: I have both 3 card support for ♥’s and also a four card ♠ suit.
Now let’s check out the other major suit situation:
Responses to 3♣ are as follows:
- 3♦ says: I do not have 3 card support for your major suit (♠ ) nor do I have 4 cards in the other major (♥ ).
- 3♠ says: I have 3 card support for your ♠ suit but I do NOT have 4 hearts.
- 3♥ says: I have a 4 card ♥ suit but do not have 3 card support for your ♠ suit.
- 3 NT says: I have both 3 card support for ♠ ’s and also a four-card ♥ suit.
The only time you would ever use this convention is if you have 4-4 in the majors, 4-5 in the majors or one five card major.
The responder now places the contract, equipped with more information about opener’s hand.
Let’s look at two situations in which it would be useful to be playing Checkback Stayman:
Note that if N-S were not playing Checkback Stayman, North would have now bid 3NT after South’s jump to 2 NT. If the opening lead was a ♣, then South would never be able to make 3NT. He would have to drive out the ♥A and then E-W would be able to cash 4 ♣ tricks quickly. 4♠ is an easy contract.
Let’s look at one more example:
North can easily make 4♠ but 3NT by South is doomed on a ♦ opening lead by West.
Checkback Stayman is alertable as are all the responses. You need to have enough points to be in game in order to use this convention.
We never want to miss an 8 card major suit fit. Remember that it is always much safer to play the hand in a major suit contract than in No Trump.
Photo credit: by Christian Haugen