Modified Two-way Stayman
( Grant Baze)
Modified Two-way Stayman replaces New Minor Forcing after a 1NT rebid by opener. MTWS is better in terms of sign off sequences, invitational sequences and forcing sequences. Additionally it has a few frills and benefits not seen with NMF. MTWS applies anytime opener bids 1 of a suit , responder bids 1 of a suit, and opener bids 1NT providing responder is not a passed hand. MTWS still applies if there is 1 level competition from the opponents.
There are 3 important features of MTWS.
- 2 response to a 1NT rebid is a relay to 2. 2 is an unconditional force to 2 (no exceptions)
- 2 response to a 1NT rebid is artificial and game forcing. It is usually a major suit checkback, although it could be the beginning of a forcing sequence in either minor.
- Jump rebids by responder into opener`s suit, their own suit or any ranking lower suit (except 3)are game forcing, describing a "pure" hand type in the suit or suits that responder has bid.
Continuations after the forced relay to 2 The first possibility is there will be no continuation. Responder may have a poor hand with long diamonds.
If responder does not pass 2 any bid they make is invitational (except for the obvious splinter to be discussed later) Opener may pass, accept the invitation by bidding game, or (in some cases) reinvite
Example: 1 -1 -1NT-2 -2 (forced response). If responder next bids 2, 2, 2NT, 3,3,3, or 3, each of these bids are invitational. The meaning of the invitational bids in this example are:
- 2 shows 5-4 in the majors
- 2 shows 5 card suit
- 2NT invites 3NT but shows a hand that includes 4 card support for openers minor suit. This allows opener to sign off in 3 if they wish. If opener had opened 1, then the delayed raise to 2NT would show 4 card diamond support. Without 4 card minor support, responder would raise 1NT to 2NT directly.
- 3 shows 5 card club support
- 3 shows 5-5 spades and diamonds
- 3 shows 5-5 majors
- 3 shows a 6 card suit
Continuations after the artificial 2 game force to a 1NT rebid. 2 usually shows a junkish game forcing hand, although it can be very strong without the suit lengths or suit quality to make a forcing jump. The 2 bid is used to:
- Find 3 card support for responder`s major
- Find a buried 4-4 major suit fit.
- Create a force in opener`s minor.
- Create a forcing (and natural)bid in the unbid minor.
Jump rebids by responder. A jump rebid of 3 is the end of the auction. Responder has some bad hand with lots of clubs. This is the only jump rebid that is not forcing. Jumps by responder in their own suit, opener`s suit, or a lower ranking suit (other than clubs) are game forcing, "pure" and probably slammish. Responder`s hand is unlimited, and they could have a hand with which they envision a grand slam. If opener`s suit is diamonds, responder must have at least 5 card support for a jump into opener`s diamonds; otherwise they would create a game force by bidding 2 then supporting diamonds. If opener`s suit is clubs, responder must go through the 2 game force before they can support clubs, because an immediate jump into clubs is always a bad hand and the end of the auction.
Important Inferences: Opener opens a minor; responder bids 1, opener rebids 1NT, responder bids 2. Opener has 14 HCP and four hearts; normally they would wonder if he should bid 3 or 4. Using these methods, they must pass. If responder wanted to invite, they would have used the 2 relay. The same reasoning applies if responder rebids his major suit. Opener is not allowed to raise.
Clarifications: If the auction is 1 - 1 - 1NT, 2 is still a game force. In this auction, if responder continues with 3 or 3, they have interest in a minor suit contract, possibly a slam. If responder wanted out in diamonds, they would have used the 2 relay. The use of this convention does not change the meaning of reverses by responder. If the auction is 1 - 1 - 1NT - 2, responder has 5 or more hearts, presumably 4 spades, and a game force with likely slam interest.
Passed hand auctions: When responder is a passed hand and opener has rebid 1NT, 2 is still a relay to 2, and the entire structure applies. Even though responder is a passed hand they can still have invitational values. If the opening bid was 1, you can no longer play 2, but the opponents probably were not going to let you play it there anyway. After opener`s rebid of 1NT, a rebid of 2 by a passed hand can no longer be game forcing, because a passed hand cannot have a game force. In this case 2 is natural and not invitational; it does, however, guarantee 5 cards in responder`s first bid suit. If responder has bypassed a longer diamond suit to bid a 4 card major, or if they have 4 card support for opener`s diamond suit and only a 4 card major, they would bid 2 to force opener to bid 2 and then pass.
Splinter sequences: Because of the availability of the relay auction, responder has two ways in which to splinter after opener`s rebid if 1NT. An immediate splinter is in support of opener`s suit (think of your partner first). A relay followed by an unusual jump is a splinter in support of responder`s own suit. 1 -1 -1NT -3 is a splinter raise of clubs. Responder has 1 spade, 4 hearts, 5 or more clubs and a game forcing hand. Responder is not necessarily interested in slam. They may be just describing their hand and warning partner that there may be a spade problem if the final contract is NT. 1 - 1- 1NT- 2 -2 -3 shows 1 spade, 6 or more hearts, and a slammish hand. If responder had no interest in slam they would bid 4 directly over 1NT. Note that responder can splinter in support of either their own suit or opener`s suit. The difference is determined by whether they relay first or not.