Using Crawling Stayman with weak hands
Sometimes we can use Crawling Stayman to find a major trump fit after partner opens 1NT even if we have a weak hand.
Bidding afer a 1NT Opening
I'm playing Acol today, so a 1NT opening shows is 12 to 14 points. If you are playing Standard where your 1NT is 15 to 17, these ideas still apply, you'll just have to adjust your point count a little bit.
We have four hearts and four spades. So if we bid Stayman here and partner has a four card heart suit or a four card spade suit, we get to play in two of a major, which would be great, maybe better than 1NT.
So I'm going to bid two clubs.
Partner bids 2♦ saying no four card major. And that's not good because if I now go back to 2NT that shows 11 or 12 points and it's inviting to game in the same way that 1NT - 2NT would invite the game.
2NT is going to be a bad contract. In fact it's worse now because North accepts my invitation and bids game. That's just horrible. So we can't do that.
What we can do is use something called Crawling Stayman and this is how it works.
I bid 2♣, North bids 2♦, and now I bid 2♥. I'm showing four hearts and four spades. I know we don't have a heart fit or a spade fit, but we must have at least a four three heart fit or a four three spade fit because North won't have two doubletons for the 1NT opening. North has got to have at least three hearts or three spades.
So if I bid 2♥ and North's got a three card heart suit, we get to play in our four three heart fit, which may be fine. Often a four three fit does work out better than 1NT. If North doesn't have three hearts, North will bid 2♠ with this three card spade suit and we get to play in a four three spade fit. Either way, we're going to get to play in a four three major fit, which is fine.
Of course we will get lucky sometimes.
When we bid 2♣ North will sometimes actually have a four card major as he does here. So North bids 2♥ and we pass and we get to play in our four four heart fit, which you can see is actually going to be great.