## Zoom

When responding to a relay, responder may answer that ask and the next ask, by bidding higher than what is apparently possible. For example, if an ask can have two responses (min or max), then step 1=min, step 2=max, step 3=max and a positive answer to the next ask. This process is called Zoom. We zoom by answering this ask and the next, simultaneously. Zoom saves bidding space, and is vital to all relay systems.

Let's look at a slightly more complicated example. Patner's last relay has asked us for min or max (to clarify our point range) and the next relay asks for our shortest suit (we have already shown our longest suit):

1. min
2. max, equal shortage
3. max, high shortage
4. max, middle shortage
5. max, low shortage

"Equal shortage" means that the two shortest suits are of equal length. "High shortage" means that the highest of the three remaining suits is the short suit, etc. With the above table, relayer may sign off cheaply after the min response. And, after a max response, he/she doesn't have to relay again to find out my short suit. We save bidding space, all around. After the min response, relayer may decide to continue relaying, and ask where the shortage is. Let's try another example, a kind of Stayman which I am making up:

 1NT 2C(r) Stayman 2D No 4-card major 2H(r) Relay 2S min 2NT max 2H 4 hearts, maybe 4 spades 2S 4 spades, min 2NT 4 spades, max

This is not perfect, as 1NT-2C(r)-2H is not as informative as other sequences. But it shows Zoom in the last two rows of the table. I could have shortened the description in the last column to only one row: "2S...=4 spades, zoom (min, max)."