Contract Bridge

This bid is a convention.

The Stayman convention is a standard response to a natural 1NT or 2NT opening, developed by Samuel Stayman in 1945. In its most basic form, it is an asking bid, asking partner to bid a 4-card major suit or 2.

Stayman is one of the two most-widely used conventions in the world and is taught to beginners at the very beginning (the other one is Blackwood).

Usage after 1NT opening[]

1NT - 2 (at least invitational and have a four card major, asks for a four card major)

  • 2: no 4-card major
  • 2: 4 s, may have 4 s. (the original version prefers 2 in case of 4-4 in majors)
  • 2: 4 s, no 4 s.

In the original version of Stayman, a 2NT rebid was allowed, showing a maximum hand (18 points).[1] However, this usage was dropped in order to use Stayman with weak hands short in clubs.


For a maximum hand with good fit, the following may be used as extensions[2]:

  • 2NT: 5 s and a major, non-minimum:
    • 3: transfer to s;
    • 3: asks for major;
  • 3: 5 s and a major, non-minimum:
    • 3: asks for major;
  • 3: both majors, maximum:
  • 3: 5 s, maximum;
  • 3: 5 s, maximum.


  • 2: 5 s and 4 s. May be non-forcing or forcing one round depending on the variant used.
  • 2: 5 s and 4 s. May be non-forcing or forcing one round depending on the variant used.
  • 2NT: invitational to 3NT, denies a fit.
  • 3/3: Originally played as weak and must be passed, but now commonly played as game forcing since weak minor hands start with 2 when Jacoby transfers are in use, details depends on partnership agreement.
  • 3/3 (after 2): Game forcing with 5-4 in the majors in the non-forcing variant. The 5-card major is bid unless Smolen transfer is used.
  • 3 (after 2): Game forcing with 4 s and less than 4 s in the non-forcing variant. Raise to 4 or return back to 3NT.
  • 3NT: sign off, denies a fit.
  • raise to the 3-level: invitational, confirms a fit.
  • raise to the 4-level: sign-off, confirms a fit.

There are many conventions regarding the rebids. See Category:Stayman for more.


The following lists variants which the usage of the 2 asking bid differs from the standard usage (invitational+ and with a 4-card major), but not the continuation afterwards.

Garbage Stayman[]

[3] In this variant, 2 does not promise invitational values. Instead, it may perform as a weak takeout when holding a 3 suited hand short in clubs. Responder passes any opener rebids, with the likelihood of having a fit in the suit opener bid. At least 7-card fit can be found with the exception of 3=3=2=5 distribution. On the other hand, a 2 contract is likely to be less costly than a 1NT in which the opponents have a majority of the high card points.

Some also plays that a 2 or 2 rebid immediately after 1NT-2-2 as weak and must be passed. In this case, Stayman is biddable holding at least 5-4 either way in the majors.

Crawling Stayman[]

[4] This is an extension to Garbage Stayman, which can be used in all hands without invitational values and 4 cards in both majors. After bidding 2, pass any 2 or 2 response, but instead rebid 2 over 2. In this case, 2 specifies that the hand is weak and asks opener to bid his 3-card , but pass with 3-card . At least 7-card fit is guaranteed.

Puppet Stayman[]

[5] This variation may be used when the NT opening allows a 5-card major. It is mainly used after 2NT opening (however usage after 1NT opening is also possible). After 2NT, a bid of 3 guarantees game-going value and asks for a 5-card major:

  • 3: have an unspecified 4-card major.
    • 3/3: the major that the responder does not have 4 cards. Similar to Smolen transfer.
    • 3NT: no 4 cards in both majors. To play.
    • 4: have 4 cards in both majors, pick one.
  • 3/3: have the named 5-card major. Responder raises it or return back to 3NT.
  • 3NT: have no 4-card major. To play.

Game-forcing Stayman[]

[6] When not using Jacoby transfers (e.g. over a weak 1NT opening), 2 may be employed as the game-forcing variant of Stayman and 2 be the non-forcing variant. Opener rebids 2NT if holding no 4-card major.

Non-promissory Stayman[]

When the sequence 1NT-2NT or 2NT-3NT is used as a convention, responder bids Stayman even without a four card major. In this case, the 2 bid by responder in the sequence 1NT-2-2-2 is used as a check-back if opener holds 4 s.

Transfer Stayman[]

This is a variant of Stayman used after a NT response intended to keep the strong hand as the declarer, commonly used by Precision players. After 1X - 1NT, 2 is transfer Stayman by opener, and is responded: 2: 4+ s; 2: 4+ s; 2NT: no 4-card major.


  1. p. 21, Highroad to Winning Bridge
  2. NoTrump bidding book
  3. [1]
  4. [2]
  5. [3]
  6. [4]