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Play Bridge: Puppet Stayman

None vulnerable - Warren Watson
None vulnerable
— image credit: Warren Watson

Puppet Stayman is used when partner has opened Mexican two diamonds, two No Trump or two clubs followed by two No Trump with a four or five-card major.

Typically, when partner opens one No Trump, two clubs is regular Stayman. When partner opens one No Trump with a five-card major, he wants to play No Trump unless partner has four of the major.

When three clubs is Puppet Stayman, it asks for a four or five-card major. Three hearts or three spades shows a five-card suit and three diamonds denies a five-card suit and promises at least one four-card major. A three No Trump response denies both a four and a five-card major.

When the opener bids three diamonds, the responder bids three hearts with four spades, three spades with four hearts and four diamonds with both four-card majors. Four clubs would be Gerber (ace-asking). No Trump is never opened with a six-card or longer major.

The bidding:

South opens a balanced 20 points with two notrump. He does not have diamonds stopped but if he opens one heart, partner will pass with four points when game could be cold. North uses Puppet Stayman and they find their game in hearts.

The Lead: King of diamonds. Top of a broken sequence is a nice lead. If declarer has the Ace and Jack third and holds up (no Bath coup here because dummy has the ace), West must find an exit card, perhaps a high spade, top of nothing.

The play:

Declarer takes the opening lead with the ace in dummy and takes the spade finesse which wins. He then exits a diamond. West wins and switches to a trump. Declarer is delaying the drawing of trump so he can ruff diamonds and the defenders see that so they lead trump.

Declarer wins trump in dummy and plays a small club to the jack which holds. East keeps the ace to cover the ten and the queen to cover the nine to promote his eight.  Declarer cashes the ace of trump and trumps a diamond in dummy. He then leads the ten of clubs. East takes his ace and exits a club, but West is out of trump. South draws the last trump and claims.

Result: Four hearts by South making five for +450.

Note:

The Creston Team Game is this Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Rotocrest. Get your team of four together.

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