Checkback Stayman

Posted on Sep 05, 2012 | Tags:


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.

? – 1?

2 NT – 3? by responder is now checkback stayman

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:

? – 1?

2 NT – 3?

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 ? heart 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:

? – 1?

2 NT – 3?

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 ? heart 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 or you have 4-5 in the majors or you have 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:

? K543
? KQ87
? Q76
? 42

? AQ76
? J106
? AK83
? A5

South opens

South North
1? 1?
2NT 3?* (Checkback Stayman)
3NT 4?


Note that if NS was 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 EW would be able to cash 4 cx tricks quickly. 4? is an easy contract.

Let’s look at one more example:

? AQ742
? 765
? Q43

? K65
? AQ7
? Q32
? AKJ2

South North
1? 1?
2NT 3?* (Checkback Stayman)
3? 4?

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 trumps. 

Photo credit: by Christian Haugen



(Originally published September 2009)

There are many uses for the word “Redouble”. I am only going to give you the simple version of the commonest use of the Redouble. Later on, you can change your use of it or add it to other scenarios.

When your partner opens the bidding, showing at least 13 points, if the guy on your right says “double”, then he also has at least 13 points. That already is a chunk of the deck’s high card points accounted for. If you in that next seat have 10 or more H.C.P. it is now very important to tell partner that you have those missing points. That way she will know that the guy on your left is marked with 0-5 points only.


1H (13+)
0 – 5 pts. Double (13+)
Redouble (10 + HCP)

By saying “Redouble”, you are really saying to partner (opening bidder) : “Partner, you opened the bidding and our opponent made a take-out double, but don’t worry about them, this hand belongs to us and we have most of the points our way on this hand.”

Note that you may have trump support or may not have trump support; the redouble merely says ”I have 10 or more H.C.P.”

Here’s how it all proceeds after this:

The one on your left (L.H.O. left hand opponent) is now marked with very little. He knows that his side is in trouble. He will bid ONLY if he has a 5 card suit. This will suggest to his partner that he has a five card suit which may provide a safe haven if their side has to play the hand because at least they will have lots of trumps, if not many points. Remember that the doubler has promised support for ALL unbid suits by making the double, so if the weak 0-5 hand names a 5 card suit, at least together they will have 8 trumps for their side.

OK, now it rolls back to the opening bidder…Let’s say that west has passed as he had no 5 card suit. The auction has so far gone:


1? Dbl. Redbl. Pass


If opening bidder passes, he may end up playing the hand in 1? doubled and redoubled. That would be his dearest wish come true as their side has lots of points and will make the contract most of the time. Having been doubled and redoubled, they will get lots of extra scoring points. (You get extra pts for insult when doubled and lots more for being redoubled.)

As a result of all of this, opening bidder says “Pass”. The doubler cannot allow North to play this hand in 1? doubled and redoubled as he knows that he will make the contract and get a great score. Therefore the Doubler MUST bid again. What does he bid? He picks his best suit, the one he is least likely to get into trouble with.


1? Dbl. Redbl. Pass
Pass 1?

East may have:


? A K x x
? x x
? A x x x
? Q x x


The redoubler MUST now bid again. With


? x x
? A x x
? K Q J x
? x x x x


Redoubler would now bid 2?. North will know that South has 10 or more H.C.P. as he redoubled to start with. In other words, redoubler now just makes a natural bid to describe his hand. A new suit by redoubler will be 100% forcing.

If the redoubler has the following hand, however, he has other things on his mind:


? Q J 10 9 8
? A x x
? x x
? A K J


1? Dbl. Redbl. Pass
Pass 1? DBL.


South should double with that hand and this will be a penalty double.


OK, so what happens if your partner opens the bidding, RHO doubles and you cannot redouble because you do NOT have 10 or more HCP? Now what?

You just bid naturally.

e.g. Bid a new suit? Raise partner?

BUT remember that any bid you make now that is NOT “Redouble” tells a partner that you do NOT own 10 or more H.C.P. Any bid other than Redouble is a WEAK bid as the ONLY STRONG BID you can make is a Redouble.

Most people play that if you bid a new suit at the one level in this situation, it is forcing for one round.

My bridge teacher used to teach: “If you cannot redouble, then bid as high as your conscience will allow!”

e.g. 1? / Dbl. / 3? (Weak, because you do not have 10 HCP.) You can definitely be frisky in this scenario!

Good luck! But mostly, have fun!