Hi. Pardon me if I don't introduce myself right now, except to say that Matos has an inflated opinion of my bridge skill.
At yesterday's game, hosted with pie and dips by the abundantly gracious Felicity, there was a discussion of the relative merits of the Stayman convention versus straight transfer bidding in response to a 1NT opening. I left in the middle of the discussion, actually, so let me know if I missed some important conclusion.
With straight transfers, responder simply names the suit under the one he/she favors, allowing the opener, who presumably has a stronger hand, to play the contract.
Stayman as I learned it, in combination with transfers, goes like this: In response to a 1NT opening, 2D shows five hearts, 2H shows five spades, 2S shows a five-card minor and no four-card major, and 2NT shows a balanced hand. (Any of these bids can be made at the 3-level instead, which promises maybe 12 points and is forcing to game.) A 2C response is Stayman, showing at least one four-card major suit.
Responses by opener to 2C are: 2D in the absence of a four-card major; 2H with four hearts (may also have four spades); 2S with four spades (implies less than four hearts).
In yesterday's play (we agreed to use Stayman at the outset) there were two hands where responder (me) passed 1NT because he had fewer than 8 high-card points, despite a nice long suit. If we were playing straight transfers I would have indicated that suit and in one case we could have bid and made 4S.
So what's the advantage of Stayman? It's weighted toward finding a major fit, whereas plain transfers generally wind up in responder's longest suit, whatever it may be. That can be a good or bad thing, I think. We ought to have a duplicate tournament to duke out the long-term results of the two conventions. What do you think?