When to use puppet stayman

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by joaneb joaneb 2 years, 9 months ago.

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    I didn’t know puppet stayman was out of favour (ie 1NT p 3C). I thought not many people played it over the 1NT opening.
    I find if perfectly useful to use 2C as ordinary stayman, on hands like ♠J1085 ♥AQ53 ♦K53 ♣62 and reserve puppet for hands like ♠J108 ♥AQ5 ♦K3 ♣109543.
    I agree with Bill’s comment that a 5332 hand opposite a flattish partner often plays best in 3NT, so who cares if you don’t discover the 5/3 fit. Only commit the side to a trump contract with long trumps and shortages which might be dangerous in no trumps.
    If you use 2♣ as ordinary stayman (and 3♣ as puppet), you can play garbage stayman happily over 2♣

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by joaneb joaneb.


    There doesn’t seem to be anything inherently evil about using Puppet Stayman after a 1NT opening.

    There are other alternatives. One is to use Simple Stayman, and if partner responds with a major, have a further check-back bid (eg 3C) to ask: is it a 5-card suit? There’s also the Lavings convention, since disowned by Paul. Or you could have 2C as simple Stayman, and a direct 3C response as checking for a 5-card major. The possibilities are endless.

    And as you noted, it’s not necessarily a bad idea to have no check at all for a 5-card major. This means that you may play a 5-3 major suit fit in notrumps, and about half the time, this actually works well.



    Opening 1NT/2NT with a 5 card major seems to be the preffered option in modern bidding. The question then arises how to find an 8 card fit in a major. Puppet stayman seems to be the preffered option when the opening is 2NT (20/21) to discover a possible 8 card fit when opener has opened with a 5 card major, and strong hand becomes declarer. However puppet stayman seems to be out of favour when opening 1NT with a 5 card major. Can anyone explain the logic? Is it just that you miss out on garbage stayman, which doesnt come around that often. Or are there other reasons? Is it easier for opposition to show a lead directing double over both clubs and diamonds? If the advice is not to use puppet stayman over 1 NT whats the alternative – just use simple stayman and treat the occaisional 9 card fit as a bonus?

    Derek Poulton

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