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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)
3♠   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
 32
 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