The Kokish Relay
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The Kokish Relay


Open 3NT with a big hand? don't be silly.


What is 3NT in the sequence 2 - 2 - 3NT? Answer a very silly bid!


You hold one of these hands and partner opens 3NT (25+) . Or else it goes 2 - 2 - 3NT to show 25+.

Hand A Hand B Should you pass or bid Stayman with Hand A?
        Should you pass or transfer with Hand B?
8632 86532 Obviously it's a complete lottery and most players past the beginner's stage play have some way to show the big balanced hand below the level of 3NT (Benjamin twos, Multi 2 or Kokish).
4 74
J872 J872
843 843

Traditionally 3NT here (and/or an opening of 3NT) are used to show very big balanced hands, 25+ points. But there is absolutely no doubt that this is very silly as it inhibits the use of transfers/Stayman/Baron whatever by a very weak responder. One solution is to also play 2 as also a strong bid (or else Multi with a strong balanced hand included) so that the sequence 2 - 2 - 2NT shows 25+. However, many players, especially from America , are not enlightened enough to play two strong artificial bids. But if you play 2 as your only strong bid then one North American player has actually come up with a scheme to solve the problem:


The Kokish relay : -


After a strong 2 and 2 response (negative or waiting however you play it)

Then 2 = either natural with a suit or 25+ balanced.

Responder then always bids 2 (the Kokish relay which says nothing at all) and

Opener then defines his hand: 2NT = 25+ balanced
  Any other bid = strong opener.

Note that the Kokish relay works fine with 2 waiting/2 negative when responder bids 2 but when responder bids 2 (totally bust) then there is a problem. But at least the Kokish relay solves the problem most of the time. If you want to solve it completely then play Benjamin twos or the Multi 2 or play 2 negative to 2.

  For details of Benjamin twos or the Multi 2, refer to the link.  
  And what should a 3NT opening mean? Have a look at the Gambling 3NT.  
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