There are many variations of the Stayman convention. The origin of this variation is unknown. This variation is generally used when the partnership agreement is to open a holding with 16-18 high card points and a balanced distribution. In some bridge communities this concept has also been designated as Ritter.

Principle of the Concept

The No Trump bidder can show either minimum or maximum strength first before bidding a possible 4-card Major suit. When employing this variation the responder generally holds sufficient values for game.


Concept Principles

The following schematic illustrates how this variation functions:

Opener   Responder   Meaning
1 NT       The No Trump range is 16-18 high card points.
    2   The agreement is that this bid by the responder is not the original Stayman conventional method, but rather strength showing Stayman.
2 NT       Promises the maximum range of the No Trump opening, around 17-18 points. This first rebid by the opener does not deny a 4-card Major suit. The responder relays with 3 to discover whether or not the No Trump bidder has a 4-card Major suit.
            Note: If the No Trump bidder has a 4-card Heart/Spade suit, then the No Trump bidder rebids 3/3.
            Note: If the No Trump bidder does not have a 4-card Major suit, then the No Trump bidder rebids 3 No Trump.
            Note: In the case that the responder holds slam values, then the responder initiates a slam try, either in No Trump or in a Major suit, in which a fit has been discovered.
3       This first rebid by the No Trump bidder shows minimum values of 16-17 (good 15-16) and balanced distribution. This forced rebid promises both 4-card Major suits.
3       This first rebid by the No Trump bidder shows maximum values of 18 (very good 17) and balanced distribution. This forced rebid promises both 4-card Major suits.

Following either the 3 or 3 rebid by the No Trump bidder showing the possession of both 4-card Major suits, the responder will bid his 4-card Major suit either at the three level, which is invitational, or bid game in his Major suit. If the responder also holds both 4-card Major suits, then the responder first bids up the line or, per partnership agreement, the stronger of the two Major suits.

A clear disadvantage to this variation is the fact that the responder may not be able to either imply or to establish the trump suit first before initiating any form of Blackwood or Ace-asking conventional method. If the responder bids game in the Major suit, the No Trump bidder is obliged to pass, thereby eliminating the possibility of a slam try. Since the responder, however, knows that the No Trump bidder, after a rebid of 3 or 3, holds both 4-card Major suits, then the responder can initiate slam bidding with an inferred trump suit. This can be achieved either with the Gerber convention or any form of Blackwood.

Note: When variations of a major concept, which has been adopted by the bridge community, are presented to the bridge community, then it becomes difficult to remember who actually first designed, devised, developed the variation. Such is the case with this variation. Some bridge players have been known to refer to this variation with the designation of Ritter (plus additional descriptive nouns), but this has not been substantiated.



If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.