The original designation for this conventional method is Four Club and Four Diamond Opening Transfers. It is/was also known and referred to as Mitchell Transfers. This is because the developer of this particular conventional method is Mr. Victor Mitchell. According to The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge, 6th Edition, page 303, this conventional method was devised by Mr. Victor Mitchell for and included into the features of the Little Major System, which is an artificial system of bidding devised by Mr. Terence Reese and Mr. Jeremy Flint of London, England, which was developed and devised and employed in the early 1960s.
Origin of a Concept
An opening of 1 Club denotes a (longer) Heart suit (therefore a transfer) and an opening of 1 Diamond denotes a (longer) Spade suit (therefore a transfer). Strong(er) holdings are opened with 1 Heart. Strong(er) Minor suit holdings are opened with 1 Spade. The Little Major system, in time, became less popular with the bridge community and is rarely played.
Mr. Victor Mitchell, (1923-1995), and Mr. Samuel Stayman, (1909-1993), both members of the ACBL Hall of Fame, constituted a most successful partnership at all major bridge tournaments. It was Mr. Samuel Stayman, who first published and introduced this conventional method in the United States. It is assumed that the partnership of Mr. Victor Mitchell and Mr. Samuel Stayman decided to shorten the designation for the bridge community, and since a reversal of the surname Mitchell is Llehctim, the decision was made to simply take the surname of Stayman, reverse the spelling, and designate the conventional method Namyats. This designation, over time, became the official designation.
It should also, as a point in bridge history, be remembered that the conventional method, referred to as Stayman, was not actually developed by Mr. Samuel Stayman. The conventional method was developed by Mr. George Rapee, but since Mr. Samuel Stayman was the first to publish with the permission of Mr. George Rapee (The Bridge World, June 1945) this conventional method, the bridge community simply named the conventional method after the writer, not the developer. Since both Mr. George Rapee and Mr. Samuel Stayman, in the 1940s and 1950s constituted a successful and established partnership, there were no hard feelings. In the way of speculation, perhaps Mr. Victor Mitchell felt the same way when suggesting to use the reversed spelling of the surname of his partner as the official designation for his conventional method.
Principles of a Preemptive Bid
Most partnerships have generally accepted the more preferred method of applying the Namyats convention, when the distribution and Losing Trick Count indicates a much stronger hand than the direct opening of four of a Major suit. Before deciding to open with the Namyats convention, it is of the utmost importance that the opener recognize the quality and shape of the hand and distinguish between a preemptive opening and a Namyats opening. The following two examples should clarify this point.
Hand 1 Hand 2
4 AQJ98643 75 93
4 AKQJ9864 7 AJ3 4 : Preempt 4 : NAMYATS
Distinction of Evaluation
The difference in the bidding between a normal preemptive opening bid and a Namyats Preempt Transfer bid is the quality of the long suit in addition to the number of losing tricks. With Hand 1 the correct procedure would be to open 4 Hearts since the quality of the holding is less superior to Hand 2, and because the holding contains at least six losing tricks. The general consensus is that the holding contain no more than five losing tricks. Since Hand 2 is stronger in the long suit and contains only four losing tricks, and to give partner a better informative description of the winning trick ability of the hand, the opener would bid 4 Clubs, transferring his partner to Hearts.
Even if the partner has already passed, he still may have 2 Aces, or 1 Ace and the King of Clubs, which would put the partnership in slam territory.
Since the bidding actually opens on the four level, it is important that the correct and most descriptive information be communicated to the partner and vice versa. Remember that much of the bidding space has already been consumed and clear and solid bidding must take place in order to place the contract only in game or to attempt a slam contract.
The decision can be made by the partner to let the Namyats bidder to become the declarer. The partner simply bids the next higher ranking suit to indicate that he has no slam interest, and that he would rather that the Namyats bidder become declarer. If, on the other hand, the partner has reasons to believe that it would be better for him to become declarer, and he has no slam interest, then he simply bids the suit indicated. If the partner has a tenace to protect, or a King small in one or more of the side suits, it would be preferable if the partner becomes declarer.
In the course of examining the worthiness and effectiveness of a Namyats Preempt Transfer bid, it has been noted that the shape of the hand should be more exact. This requirement can prove to be more helpful and informative to the partner, who then can make a better decision as to the correct contract. The partnership agreement is that the distribution does not allow for two quick losers in more than one suit, and that the hand contains the King of the Trump suit.
More Disciplined Definition
For those partnerships, who wish to use this more stringent condition regarding the shape and quality of the hand, the response of the partner assumes another meaning. Instead of 4 Clubs - pass - 4 Diamonds being a transfer bid, the bid by partner of 4 Diamonds becomes a relay bid. The following examples should illustrate this more informative condition.
Hand 1 Meaning
K4 AQJ9864 K5 53 Since this hand does not contain the King of the Trump Suit, 1 would be the correct opening bid. Hand 2 Meaning
K4 AQJ9864 K5 53 Since this hand contains two quick losers in two suits, 1 would be the correct opening bid. Hand 3 Meaning
K3 AK98764 7 963 Since this hand meets all of the requirements regarding the quality of the hand, 4 would be the correct bid.
If this becomes your partnership agreement, then be aware that by Hand 3 the bid of 4 Diamonds by the responder is not a transfer bid, but rather a relay bid, asking the opener to identify the suit in which he has 2 quick losers. The opener would then bid that suit.
If the opener does not have 2 quick losers, he can rebid his suit. On the other hand, if the opener has a solid suit with the King, no suit with two quick losers, the opener will bid 4 No Trump asking the his partner for Aces. The 4 No Trump bid is Blackwood, asking for Aces and/or Keycards. The partnership is free to employ other alternative Ace-asking conventional methods. The attempt at slam is underway with the understanding that the responder has the necessary Aces and Kings, concluded from his 4 Diamond bid. Otherwise the responder would have simply bid the indicated suit, which the opener would have then passed.
It does not matter which meaning the bridge partnership applies to the Namyats Preempt Transfer bid or relay bid, it is still of the utmost importance that both partners understand the meaning of the bid. Whatever decision is made, it should become part of the partnership agreement, and must be disclosed to the opponents in the proper manner.
As a defense against the Namyats convention, most partnership understandings are that a direct double of the Namyats bid and/or the response, delayed or natural, becomes a Takeout Double, whereas a delayed double is for penalty.
If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.
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