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Namyats (Stayman backwards) is a bidding convention to describe hands with long majors between 7 and 9 Playing tricks.

The opening bids are between 4♣ and 4♠.

Let’s look at the meaning of these bids:-

  • 4♣ – 8 or 9 Playing tricks with 7+Hearts
  • 4 – 8 or 9 Playing tricks with 7+Spades
  • 4 – 7 or 8 Playing tricks with 7+Hearts
  • 4♠ – 7 or 8 Playing tricks with 7+Spades

I really like this very simple system for a couple of reasons.

Firstly I never like opening a natural pre-empt of 4♣/ because i’m worried I might be missing 3NT…so for me the 4♣/ opening bids never existed as opening bids. Now I have a good use for them with the Namyats convention.

Secondly so many times my partner had 8 hearts/spades in their hand and opened 4/♠ and then we missed an easy slam because they were stronger than I expected them to be…or I bid slam and went off because the converse was true.

Example hands would be:-

  1. ♠ – AKJ107654 – Q7 – 6 ♣ – 95
  2. ♠ – 4 – AK1098743 – A6 ♣ – 42
  3. ♠ – AQJ107654 – 87 – K2 ♣ – 6
  4. ♠ – AJ1097654 – Q7 – AK ♣ – 7
  5. ♠ – 54 – AKQJ876 – AQJ ♣ – 3
  6. ♠ – KQJ107654 – K7 – 6 ♣ – 42
  7. ♠ – A4 – KQJ109876 – 6 ♣ – 32
  8. ♠ – KQJ107654 – 72 – KQ ♣ – 2

So with the weaker hand (7-8) playing tricks you would open 4or 4♠ (hands 1,3,6,7,8) and the stronger hand with (8-9) playing tricks you would open 4♣ or 4 (hands 2,4,5).


Most of the time you are just going to pass a 4 of a major opening bid or put partners 4 of a minor into the correct major.

If you bid 4 over 4♣ you are investigating slam in Hearts.
If you bid 4 over 4 you are investigating slam in Spades.

You have two choices going forward:

  • Italian cue bids or use RKCB to investigate if slam is on.
  • bid the suit you have 2 losers in – an anti-cuebid


Over an artificial minor opening, opponents can double which would be lead directing…or possibly the start of a way of showing a two-suited hand.

Over a double system can be kept on…so a re-double would imply interest in slam and possible a cue bid in that suit or the higher ranking suit and a bid of the next suit up would imply slam interest still and could show no minor ace.

For example

4♣DoublePassMaybe ace of spades or two aces?
RedoubleControl in Clubs…heart interest
4Control in Diamonds…heart interest
4No Slam Interest
4♠Natural or ace of spades? Two aces? a void?
4NTRKCB for Hearts

As you can tell by this…I’m making this up as I go! Again the most important aspect of bridge is that you and your partner should have a comprehensive understanding of what the bids mean after you’ve opened 4♣.

This is the great thing about bridge…if you love the game these are the precise topics that people will talk for hours about 🙂

Picture Jumps

Picture jumps are used in the 2/1 bidding system.

If we start with an auction, with no intervening bidding such as:-

  • 1♠-2♣
  • 2 -?

So here we can bid 2♠ / 3♠ / 4♠ to show different kinds of holdings.

Firstly 2♠

A hand such as:

  • ♠ K107
  • K5
  • K76
  • ♣ KJ973

The two spade bid shows 3 card spade support but also denies holding a good 5 card club suit and good spades now making slam less likely.

Secondly 3♠

A hand such as:

  • ♠ KQ7
  • A5
  • 876
  • ♣ AKJxx

This raise shows good trump support, a good club suit and an outside control in one of the red suits.

And Finally 4♠

A hand such as:

  • ♠ KQ7
  • 65
  • J76
  • ♣ AKJxx

This shows excellent trump support and a great club support but no controls in the other suits.

By having all these different bids set in stone opener is more likely to know whether to go for a slam or not.

Kokish Game Tries

Kokish game tries are similar to trial bids. They come after partner has raised 1 of a Major to 2 of a Major, so:

  • 1 – 2 and 1♠ – 2♠

So 2♠ would be a kokish game try when the hearts have been raised and 2NT would be a kokish game try when the spades have been raised.

Responder now bids there lowest suit they are happy to accept a game try in…by either having help in that suit because they have a shortage or they have good values in that suit. So Qxx would not be considered that good in the suit where KJxx would be a good holding.

If responder cannot help in any suit they simply bid the major at the 3 level.

If opener doesn’t like the response e.g. 3♣ they can then bid 3 or 3 and ask for help in the bid suit.

You can also play a direct raise asks for help in the trump suit…but most people play that as a pre-emptive raise.

  • 1 – 2 – 3 and 1♠ – 2♠ – 3♠

The advantage of this system over normal long suit trial bids is if your partner shows no help you haven’t divulged where your weakness is.

2C Opener Benjamised Acol

Let’s have a look at a 2♣ opener playing Benjamised Acol…

Please note people play this in different ways…as long as you and your partner are playing it the same way….that is the most important thing!

So a 2♣ opening bid I play as showing

  • strong single-suited hand (this replaces the strong Acol 2 bids)
  • 20-22 points with a 5 card suit (I would make a suggestion that it shows specifically a MINOR suit….because it is easy to use puppet stayman or muppet stayman to ask for 5 card majors). This means that a direct 2NT opening bid should be 20-22 points without a five card MINOR suit but may contain 5 of a MAJOR.

Before we begin, some players use Reverse Benji which swaps the meanings of the 2♣ and 2. Whilst this may seem easier to learn (as this way you are keeping the 2♣ bid the same as you are used to in normal ACOL), it is technically less sound.

A strong single-suited hand (but may have a secondary four-card suit), or 20-22 points with a 5 card MINOR suit relatively balanced (can play this as 5431 shape). The strong single-suited hand is equivalent to a hand suitable for a two-level opening playing traditional Acol (including clubs – not directly available playing traditional Acol) i.e. 4 ‘quick tricks’, and; 8+ playing tricks for hearts or spades, 8½ playing tricks for clubs and diamonds. A playing trick is like an ace, or KQ. To work out your playing tricks imagine the suits breaking “normally”.

With a long minor and a secondary major, consider opening at the one-level. There is always a danger that your 1♣/ opener may get passed out….

Responding to 2♣

You can respond in different ways depending on partnership agreement…

But my preference to the 2♣ opening is:

• 2, 2♠, 3♣, 3 – My own suit and nothing else outside it in terms of useful points So AKJxx at least. Or I can jump with a solid hand like AKQJxx.
• 2 – I just use this as a relay or waiting bid…I would bid this probably 97.4% of the time!

Openers Response

a) If a strong single-suited hand, bid the suit. This then becomes the equivalent of opening an Acol 2 or 2♠, with the added bonus that you can bid a strong club suit (albeit at the three-level) – not available in ‘standard’ Acol. The only downside is that a strong diamond suit has to be shown at the three-level and the weaker hand might be declaring in diamonds.

Responder then bids as if partner has opened a strong 2, but the added advantage is that he can ‘pass’ opener’s response. Note that if opener has to show his strong suit at the three-level, the bid is technically non-forcing, but responder should still strain to bid.

Opener can jump the bidding to show even stronger hands (but not strong enough for a 2 opening) (e.g. 2♣ – 2 – stop 3♠ would show a 9 playing trick hand in spades…this would set the suit), and subsequent bids from responder are either cue bids (if opener jumps it is a cue and an agreement that there could be slam on) or a natural suit that wasn’t good enough to respond with or a stopper giving opener a chance to bid 3NT. With no points or any shape you can simply pass.

b) 20-22 points with a five card suit MINOR. You can then respond with 3♣ as asking for partners opening 5 card MINOR, or you can use whatever methods you use after a 2NT such as transfer bids. If the initial 2♣ opener can contain a 5 card ♣ suit….then to show clubs you now bid 3NT over 3♣ and bid 3 to show diamonds.

Alternatively you can conserve bidding space and over 3♣ use 3 to show a club suit and 3 to show a diamond suit. It’s harder to remember but keeps the bidding lower meaning you have chance to cue bid 3 or 3♠ to agree a fit in clubs without going past 3NT and possibly look for a slam in clubs. Obviously make sure you have the agreement with partner.

Lets look at some examples

Let’s look at some examples of 2♣ openers and the hands below them are the responding hands:-

♠ AKQ10863
♣ AK7
♠ 7
♣ AKQ10765
♠ K64
♣ 6
♠ AKQJ863
♦ 9
♣ AK7
♠ 954
♣ Q3
♠ KQ842
♣ 43
♠ AQJ732
♣ A753
♠ 954
♣ Q3
♠ K7
♣ AQ1087
♠ A853
♣ KJ65

a) 2♣ – 2 – 3♠ – 4♠. With nine playing tricks in spades, North opens 2♣ and shows the spade suit after his partner’s 2. North bids 3♠ showing 9 playing Tricks. South has sufficient support and values for game…but no interest in slam.

b) 2♣ – 2 – 3♣ – 3♠ – 3NT. 9 playing tricks in clubs so North opens 2♣. South bids 2. North shows his good club suit, South shows his useful spade suit, and North bids the obvious game.

c) 2♣ – 2♠ – 3♠ – 4♣ – 4NT… – eventually 7♠ . South is good enough to bid his own spade suit and North shows good support. Bidding slowly with 3♠ is a very strong position…you are looking for a slam. A Cue-bid of 4♣ followed by RKCB should get you to 7 spades.

d) 2♣ – 2 – 3♠ – 4 – 4♠. North has 9 tricks – so jump to 3♠. South having genuine spade support, cue-bids A. This should also show some extra values elsewhere as the 2♣ opener didn’t open 2 game force. Slam is on but it’s difficult to find. You could make the argument that South shouldn’t cue bid the ace of hearts without holding something useful in clubs as north only has 9 Playing tricks guaranteed.

e) 2♣ – 2– 2NT – 3♣ – 3 – 3♠ – 4♣ – 4♠ – 6♣. 2NT shows a 5 card MINOR. 3♣ asks and 3 shows CLUBS! 3♠ is now a cue bid agreeing clubs and 4♣ is now Roman Key Card Minorwood. 4♠ shows two keycards and you take a view to bid 6♣. You would normally open 2NT with this hand, partner would look for a major fit and not find it and settle for 3NT most of the time.

Another partnership agreement that people have is to show a very poor hand opposite the strong suited hand by just bidding the next suit up. Since the two diamond bid is game forcing…the auction might go something like…

2 – 2
3 – 3
3NT – Pass

So 3 could be a 5+ card suit but can also be a negative…as you don’t want the weak hand to play it out in 3NT as they might only have game if they are playing it out.

Other Agreements?

The 20-22 point with a 5 card MINOR can have partnership agreements, such as:

• Only contains a five card MINOR with no four card MAJOR
• Could contain a singleton or not
• Could be 2245 or 2254 shape
• Is always a 5332 shape

It’s up to partnership agreement of how exactly you play the 2♣ opener.

Over 97.4% of the time you are going to bid 2 to see what opener has.

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