The range ask response to a 1NT opening bid fixes a problem with 4-Suit Transfers. If after partner's 1NT opening bid, you use a 2♠ responses as a transfer to clubs and a 2NT response as a transfer to diamonds, you give up a natural 2NT invitation to 3NT. So responder has to use Stayman and then bid 2NT to invite game. If responder has a 4-card, Stayman helps you find a 4-4 major suit fit. If responder doesn't have a 4-card major, using Stayman only helps your opponents. Needlessly revealing information about opener's major suit holding helps the defenders with their lead and play.
The Range Ask is a great substitute for a natural 2NT invitation. After opener bids 1NT, responder's 2♠ bid is artificial, showing a hand which wants to know whether opener is a maximum or a minimum, or a hand with long clubs of any strength.
After responder's 2♠ Range Ask, opener uses step responses to show a minimum, or maximum 1NT opener.
Opener's response to the artificial 2♠ Range Asking Bid tell whether opener is a maximum or a minimum for their 1NT opening bid.
|2NT||Artificial, showing a minimum 1NT opener|
|3♣||Artificial, showing a maximum 1NT opener|
If responder has a balanced invitation to 3NT, responder passes opener's 2NT (minimum) rebid. This replaces the standard invitational auction where opener has a minimum.
This replaces the standard invitational auction where opener has a minimum.
If responder has a balanced invitation to 3NT and opener rebids 3♣ to show a maximum 1NT opener, responder places the contract in 3NT.
This replaces the standard auction where opener has a maximum.
If responder has a hand with long clubs, responder's rebid will vary depending on responder's strength and opener's rebid.
|Responder's Strength||Opener's Rebid||Responder's Rebid||Meaning|
|Weak||2NT (min)||3♣||To play|
|Invitational||2NT (min)||3♣||To Play|
|3♣ (max)||See discussion below|
|Game Forcing||2NT (min)||See discussion below|
Responder will force to game with a game forcing hand or an invitational hand where opener says they are a maximum. If responder has a singleton or void in a side suit, responder will show it to help find the right game. Responder shows shortness by bidding a side suit at the 3-level.
|3♦||Game force with long clubs and diamond shortness|
|3♥||Game force with long clubs and heart shortness|
|3♠||Game force with long clubs and spade shortness|
|3NT||Natural, to play|
|4♣||A slam try with 6 or 7 clubs and no shortness (233)-6 or 2-2-2-7|
|4♦||Roman Key Card Blackwood for clubs|
When responder shows shortness, opener will offer 3NT as the final contract if they have responder's short suit well stopped. If 3NT isn't viable, opener bids a new suit looking for the right game. The partnership may prefer playing in a major suit if a 7 or 8 card fit is available.