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Super-Accepts after Jacoby Transfers

Source: Andrew Gumperz Blog

The Original Super Accept by Andrew Gumpertz

Super accepts are a useful and popular adjunct to Jacoby Transfers. The original notion of a super accept was that occasionally a NT opener would hold a hand that, after responder»s transfer, improved to where it was outside the range of what responder would expect. Game would make opposite many hands that would pass a simple accept. Assuming a 15-17 opening 1NT, here are some examples:


  1. xx, Axxxx, AKx, AJT
  2. xx, QTxx, AKJx, AKx
  3. Ax, JT9x, AKxxx, Ax

These hands all have play for game opposite as little as: xxx, Kxxxx, xx, xxx and you certainly want to be in game if partner has xxx, Kxxxx, Qx, xxx. It is easy to see why driving to 3M makes sense–the risk of going down in 3M is small while the risk of missing a game by bidding only 2M is large.

The Modern Super Accept
Marty Bergen was the first writer to promote the idea of super accepts on weaker hands. Marty argued that the LOTT suggested that the 3-level was safe with a 9 card fit and hence that opener should super accept on all, or virtually all, hands holding 4-card support.
Marty»s methods are still popular. And while they did help us see the value of the 9th trump, I have come to believe that they were misguided. Marty argued (correctly) that in competitive auctions possession of the 9th trump is the single most important factor in determining when it is right to compete to the 3-level. However Marty extended this thinking about the 9th trump to non-competitive transfer auctions when he wrote about super accepts. As a young player I adopted his advice enthusiastically with mixed results. Many times I bid to 3M-1 which looked OK since the opponents could make 3m, only to get 2 out of 12 matchpoints when most of the field was allowed to play 2M 2. What went wrong?
Suppose that the opponents promised never to balance after your transfer auction. Would it still be right to super accept on all hands with 4-card support? Clearly not. Super accepting greatly increases the risk of going down in a partial when responder has a yarborough. If the opponents never balanced, you would only want to superaccept with a super max like my original examples.  
In my real world experience, players balanced after a transfer auction no more than 1 hand in 3. Now suppose you hold 4 trumps for partner and the opponents balance over your 2M. How much of a threat is this really? If the opponent»s fit is in a minor, you can always bid 3M after they balance. Unless they can make 4m, your passivity cost you nothing.

The balancing call is a serious threat only when the opponents can bid and make a 4-level contract or when they can make 3S. The most costly balances to us will be when we can also make 3M. If they can make 3S but our 3H is also going down, at IMPs our gain for bidding 3H is small, and at matchpoints we have to worry about being doubled for -200 or -300. Thus in an ideal world we would super accept:
–when they can make something
–when we can make something

Our hand can give us some clues. They are far more likely to make something when they have spades. So our first rule is to nuisance super accept with hearts more often than with spades. We are far more likely to make something if our high cards are working. A nuisance superaccept is much more effective on hand 1 than hand 2.
hand 1: xx, QJxx, AKxx, Axx (14 HCP)
hand 2: Qx, AKxx, KJx, QJxx (16 HCP)

It is a matter of offense to defense ratio. The first hand is far more offensive so if you super accept and go down the chances are excellent the opponents were making something. On the second hand, you are both more likely to fail in 3M and more likely to beat an opposing contract. That is a double-whammy against bidding.

When to Super Accept
  • Always superaccept with 5 trumps. With a ten-card fit, chances are high the opponents can balance.
  • Always super accept on a hand that is all working: xx, KJxx, AT9x, AQT. Even though you opened online casino a 14 HCP 1NT, the superaccept is mandatory when your high cards are working and the doubleton spade means there is a significant danger the opponents can make 3S.
  • Never super accept on 4-3-3-3 shape. With 3-3-3 side shape, your offensive potential is reduced by almost a full trick. Your risk of going down is too high.
  • Rarely super accept with high cards of uncertain worth. For example: Qx, AKxx, KJx, QJxx. This hand has 16 HCP, but facing a bad hand some or even all of the outside high cards will not take tricks. Your risk of going down is too high to superaccept.
Super Accept Methods
1NT-(P)-transfer- (P)
  • 3M = a nuisance superaccept
  • 2M 1 = a true superaccept (1NT-2-2 or 1NT-2-2NT)
After a true super accept:
  • next step asks for a doubleton. Use this only when the information will be helpful for deciding whether to bid a game or a slam.
  • If responder»s major has not yet been bid, repeating the transfer suit always asks opener to accept the transfer.
Example Auctions
2= transfer
2 = superaccept
3= transfer to hearts
3 = accepting retransfer
4 = responder wants to play game but has no slam interest.
2 = transfer
2 = superaccept
2NT = asking for doubleton
3 = doubleton club
3 = transfer to hearts
3 = accepting retransfer
P = responder had a hand in the 5-7 range, but disliked his hand after hearing the doubleton club.
2= transfer
2 = superaccept
2NT = asking for doubleton
3= doubleton diamond
4 = transfer to hearts
4 = accepting retransfer

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