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BRIDGE HANDS BY PAUL MENDELSON

We are delighted to be able to announce that Paul Mendelson , the bridge correspondent for the Financial Times  and author of nine best-selling  Bridge books has agreed to supply us with regular articles for the Richmond-Bridge  website​​​​​​.​
 
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​​​​​​​American Sam Stayman did not​​​​​​​ invent the eponymous convention, a British guy did. Sadly, the American’s talent for promotion meant that it is his name which is long remembered, even if his convention is sometimes not…

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To use Stayman after a Weak 1NT opening, you should normally hold 11pts or more. This is so that, if your partner gives you a response you do not want to hear, you can return to 2NT, or higher. However, when you are 5-4 in the major suits, as South is in today’s hand, you can utilize the convention with no points at all! This is because, if partner bids 2H or 2S, you can just pass; if he responds 2D, you can still bid your 5-card major suit at the 2-level, and it is still a weak take-out.

Here, bidding 2H as a weak take-out is not nearly as good as finding the 4-4 spade fit and, although East-West should really compete (West should probably double for take-out once North responds 2S and South passes), if left to play in 2S, you should make it.

PAUL MENDELSON
​​​​​​​www.aceoftrumps.com

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