Transfers and More Transfers

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Transfer bids can be used to great advantage in many and varied situations

Paul Lavings
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TRANSFERS AND MORE TRANSFERS by Paul Lavings   Source: ABF

Experts are discovering that transfer bids can be used to great advantage in many and varied situations. If you wish to get started on transfers may I recommend three situations where they work brilliantly. Don’t be shy, transfers are fun and will improve your results.

TRANSFER RESPONSES TO 1

There are three transfer responses:

1 – 1 Transfer showing 4+ hearts

1 – 1 Transfer showing 4+ spades

1 – 1 Transfer showing no major

Opener accepts the transfer to a major with three-card support.

1 – 1

1 Three hearts

1 – 1

1 Three spades

and makes the normal raise with four card support

1 – 1

2 Four hearts

1 – 1

2 Four spades

Otherwise opener bids as normal:

1 – 1

1NT Denies both 3 or 4 hearts and 4 spades

If RHO doubles, their bid is ignored. If they overcall, double says you would have bid that suit as a transfer. If you bid over their overcall it is a normal transfer:

1 (1) Dbl Transfer showing 4+ hearts

1 (1) 1 Transfer showing 4+ spades

1 (1) 1 Transfer showing no major

1 (1) Dbl Transfer showing 4+ spades

1 (1) 1 Transfer showing no major

1 (1) Dbl 4 + hearts (as normal)

Not only can the partnership knowingly play in their 5-3 major fi t, but the opening bidder, most often the stronger hand, will be the declarer. The 1NT response to 1 is 11-12 balanced, no major. This allows the partnership to stop in 1NT with 23-24 bad points between them, and frees 1- 2NT for something more useful and hazardous than 11-12 balanced.

TRANSFER RESPONSES TO OPENER’S 2NT REBID

Often responder will make a weak response to 1 for tactical reasons. Let’s say partner opens 1 and you hold either of these hands:

1. K9865, J76, 653, 32

2. 6, 98742, 765, K964

On the fi rst hand you don’t want to be stranded in 1, when opener might only have a three card suit. So you transfer with 1. Who knows what might happen, but its better value than passing 1. On the second hand you have a good club fi t, and a singleton spade. You are afraid if you pass you’ll give the game away, and opponents will have too easy a time finding their spade fi t. So you transfer with 1.

Partner’s frequent response to your transfer will be 2NT, 18-19 balanced. And opener will rebid 2NT rather than show three-card heart support, or a four card spade suit. Now responder would like to sign off in 3 on hand 1, and 3 on hand 2. Many systems can’t manage this, but for transfers it’s easy:

1 – 1 ( 4+ spades)

2NT – 3 (transfer to 3)

3 – Pass

In this situation opener has no choice but to accept the transfer. And note, the strong hand is still declarer.

In other situations, opener is expected to give preference:

1 – 1 (4+ spades)

2NT – 3 (5+ spades, 4+ hearts)

3 = 4 hearts

3 = preference to spades

3NT = less than 4 hearts and less than three spades

Another twist:

1 – 1 (4+ hearts)

2NT – 3 (5+ hearts)

3 – 3 (3 is forced, now 3=5+ and 4)

1 – 1 (4+ hearts)

2NT – 3 (4 hearts and 4 spades)

This last sequence is available if responder wants to check back whether opener has four spades. Responder can transfer to minors, to invite slam. Lots of options, and lots of fl exibility.

TRANSFER RESPONSES TO A 2 OPENING

At the moment, I favour this scheme over a strong 2 opening:

2 – 2 (0-4 any)

2 – 2 (any positive, normally 9+ HCP)

2 – 2 (semi-positive 5-8 HCP, no good suit)

2 – 2NT (transfer semi-positive in clubs 5-8 HCP with 2 of the top 3 honours)

2 – 3 (transfer semi-positive in diamonds 5-8 HCP with 2 of the top 3 honours)

2 – 3 (transfer semi-positive in hearts 5-8 HCP with 2 of the top 3 honours)

2 – 3 (transfer semi-positive in spades 5-8 HCP with 2 of the top 3 honours)

The transfer semi-positives show a fi ve or six card suit with two of the top three honors, obviously with little outside, since they are all 5-8 HCP. Opener accepts the transfer with 3+ support, otherwise bids naturally. This way the strong hand declares the contract most of the time.

Good luck, and be brave enough to brush aside initial misunderstandings. And remember, transfers rule!
Paul Lavings
Paul Lavings Bridge Books & Supplies

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