Baze After Stayman Slam Tool

Playing in Baltimore with Kathy last week we lost one match where we stopped in game and the opponents bid a slam. Here’s what happened:

She opened 1NT (14+ to 17, but in practice she never does it with fewer than 15). I held a nice 15 count with 4 spades, so I started with Stayman 2C. She bid 2S and now I have a dilemma. I think that we’re in the slam zone but I don’t have a good way to tell her that we have a spade fit and at the same time ask for keycards. 4NT Is quantitative and will lose the spade fit. 4S is a signoff. Some people play that 4C would be a keycard ask in S, but we don’t (yet). I decided to just settle for 4S but I was dissatisfied at the time, a foreshadowing of the 10 IMP loss on the board.

As with many problems in bidding, someone has designed a convention to handle this situation. In this case, Grant Baze invented a series of bids that allow responder to show slam interest with our without shortness.

With shortness:

Suppose the auction starts:
1NT – 2C
2S – ?

Responder shows that they agree on spades and have slam interest with some side suit singleton or void by bidding 3H. Opener bids 3S to ask where the shortness is. (4C club shortness, 4D diamond shortness, 4H heart shortness). After this, 4NT is RKC in spades.

If opener has hearts then:
1NT – 2C
2H – 3S (agrees hearts, slam interest, shortness somewhere)
3NT by opener asks where the shortness is. (4C club shortness, 4D diamond shortness, 4H spade shortness). After this 4NT is RKC in spades.

Without shortness:
1NT – 2C
2H or 2S – 4D agrees that there’s a fit and shows balanced hand slam interest. Opener can cue bid or can bid 4NT to ask for keycards.

Responder can also ask for keycards immediately:
1NT – 2C
2H or 2S – 4C is RKC in opener’s major.

Finally, responder can show slam interest without a fit by bidding a quantitative 4NT:

1NT – 2C
2H or 2S – 4N is quantitative and denies a fit.

Getting back to my Baltimore hand, if I had this tool our bidding would go something like this:

1NT – 2C
2S – 4D (agrees spades, balanced hand slam interest)
4NT (1430 RKC in S) etc. and we would have gotten to a good 6S contract.