M J Bridge

Theory and Conventions



Quest transfers

Quest transfers are, I believe, the brain-child of Terence Quested of the Pattaya bridge club.

They are an alternative to the near-universal ‘Smolen’ convention which shows hands with 5-4 in the majors and game-going values in response to partner’s opening bid of 1NT.

These bids are all but unknown in the bridge-playing world and might not have stood the test of time in the highest levels of tournament play, but they address a particular bidding problem in a logical and intuitive way which greatly reduces the memory work involved.

Quite simply, in this method you start with a Stayman enquiry, but if a fit is not immediately forthcoming you will rebid three of the suit below your five-card major - exactly as with a red-suit transfer - promising invitational values or better.

In response, partner can select the strain, with a jump to game if able to accept the invitation.

A Q 8 6

K Q 8 7 3

T 2

K 5

Partner opened 1NT.

You have 4-5 in the majors together with game-going values.

Start with a Stayman 2 enquiry, intending to rebid 3 over a 2 response.  Partner can then choose between 3, 3NT and 4.  If partner’s choice is 3 you will rebid 3NT in case he holds a minimum with only two hearts.

Partner opened 1NT.

You are 5-4 in the majors with invitational values.

If playing Quest start by bidding 2 (Stayman), intending to rebid 3 over a 2 response.

Partner can then choose between 3, 3NT and 4.

A Q T 8 6

K Q 8 3

T 2

9 5

Original form

The original form of this convention, as outlined above, uses the two sequences to promise invitational values or better.

This avoids the need to come up with some weird artificial sequences to show the invitational hands, as is the case with Smolen.

The downside is that responder might have to jump in accepting the invitation, in which case you will be left with only limited bidding space to distinguish between the various nuances of game-going, slam interest and genuine slam-try.

(It is worth pointing out that the Smolen sequence to show five hearts and four spades also drives opener to the four-level, and a similar problem ensues.)  These problems can be overcome with a creative use of the minor suits as opener chooses his strain, but that produces just one more load for the memory banks.

My feeling is that the basic form of Quest, as above, is excellent at anywhere below the highest level, particularly if most of your bridge is played at pairs scoring, and I recommend it as such.

Modifying the convention

Alternatively, if your concern centres around those game and slam decisions then I will offer you my own variation.

Intermediate and above

Opener’s first bid

Opener’s rebid

Context  -  Partner opened 1NT - RHO passed - extending your methods - available methods.