M J Bridge

Theory and Conventions




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

They are an alternative to better known methods of showing invitational and game-going hands which are 5-4 in the majors 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.

Invitational or better - 5-4 in the majors

Quite simply, in this method you start with a Stayman enquiry, and 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 will:-

complete the transfer at the three-level if not able to accept the game invitation.  Such a bid may be made with only two-card support for partner’s major;

bid 3NT if strong enough to accept the invitation but with only two-card support;

make a control-showing bid in a new suit if strong enough to accept the invitation with at least three-card support.

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 a cue-bid.  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 a cue-bid accepting the game-try.

A Q T 8 6

K Q 8 3

T 2

9 5

Intermediate and above

Opener’s first bid

Opener’s rebid

Context  -  Partner opened 1NT - RHO passed - intermediate and beyond - underlying methods.

This page last revised 16th Nov 2019

Because Quest has already dealt with both invitational and game-going sequences the world is now your oyster as you look to add further capabilities to the method - every likely spare sequence and bid is available.

Game-going with a five-card major and four-card minor

Game-forcing hands are most easily shown by transferring into the five-card major and then bidding the minor - natural and forcing.

Weak two-suited in the majors

It is strongly recommended that you should extend your two-suited garbage Stayman method to cater for hands which are 4-4 in the majors.

This will both add some flexibility to your treatment of such hands, and will also free up the sequence 1NT, 2, 2, 2.

Two-tier transfers into the minors

An early addition to the method should be two-tier transfers into the minors.

To go along with this you will have to play non-promissory Stayman to show the invitational raise.

Note that if you were previously playing simple four-suit transfers this will release the immediate response of 3 for some other purpose.

Single-suited in a major

Also recommended is that you should add Texas transfers or South African Texas transfers to your repertoire.

This will allow even greater definition between the various hand-types (particularly hands with at least a slam interest) whilst releasing the immediate responses at the three-level for other uses.

For a way of distinguishing between the various sequences to four of a major see single-suited in a major.

5-5 in the majors

See the page 5-5 in the majors.

Five minor and four major

Because the 1NT, 2, 2, 3 is now taken up by a Quest sequence I have used the transfer and new suit sequences to show these hands.

Single-suited in a minor

See the page single-suited in a minor.

Isn’t that enough?

If you choose just to adopt the suggestions above and add in some simple interpretation for immediate responses at the three-level - perhaps natural slam-tries - then you will have an excellent system which will more than hold its own at club level and  beyond.

But if your choice is to add greater precision as you show various hand-types, and to use as many redundant bids and sequences as possible, then there is considerable leeway in how you choose to extend your system.

How complicated you wish to make your system - how serious a partnership you are - and the form of the game which you most commonly play (pairs or teams) - will all have a bearing on your choices.

The hand-types which you might choose to consider are discussed under ‘describing the hand’, and various possible allocations will be found under ‘available bids’.

In particular you may well choose to consider:-

alternative uses for immediate responses at the three-level;

the sequences 1NT, 2, 2x, 2 and 1NT, 2, 2, 2;

and extended Stayman sequences - particularly 1NT, 2, 2x, 3.

What follows is just one set of choices.

It tends towards the maximum complication end of the spectrum.

Feel free to agree a simpler, or just a different, set of methods.

Invitational, five-card major and four-card minor

I have not so far included a method for the invitational hand with a five-card major and a four-card minor.

In the following I have allocated two sequences to show these hands:-

1NT, 2, 2x, 2    invitational with five spades and a four-card minor;

1NT, 2, 2, 2    invitational with five hearts and a four-card minor.

Alternatively, there is something to be said for just ignoring the hand-type, starting with a transfer into the major before either lying about the shape with 2NT or lying about the strength with three of the minor.

This approach has the particular advantage of releasing the two spare sequences for you to allocate as you wish.

Immediate responses at the three-level

There are numerous possibilities (see three-level bids).

On the example page which follows I have allocated all of the three three-level bids to show hands which are two-suited or semi-two-suited in the minors although I must admit a certain fondness for playing 3 as 5-card Puppet Stayman.

The sequence 1NT, 2, 2, 2

deserves special consideration.

As indicated above, I have in the following allocated this sequence to showing an invitational hand with five hearts and a four-card minor.

All sorts of alternative allocations are possible - the most likely choices are considered briefly on their own pages.

I would certainly consider Walsh relays to initiate a slam-try on hands single-suited in a minor as a possibility.

To go along with any one of these choices you will have to play non-promissory Stayman to show the invitational balanced raise.

Extended Stayman sequences

I have chosen to play the sequences 1NT, 2, 2x, 3 as minor suit Stayman.

This is a useful device on occasion.  There are other ways of doing it.

Agreeing partner’s major

A useful device is to follow a Stayman enquiry and a major suit response with a bid at the three-level in the other major to agree partner’s suit and express a slam interest.

Anything else

If you have adopted all of the suggestions above then the sequences

1NT, 2, 2, 3

1NT, 2, 2, 3

1NT, 2, 2, 3

will have become available for any purposes you might choose.

Of course, it goes without saying that they had meanings assigned in the original version of this method.

Make any additions or changes you like - it’s totally up to you - but hopefully you get the idea.


The only real downside is that you might prefer a method of showing the game-going hand at a lower level (as in Smolen) both to facilitate a possible slam-try and to remove any area of doubt in the face of enemy intervention.

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.

Alternatively, if the consideration above concerns you then I will offer you my own variation. which retains the 3 rebid to promise five hearts, but plays both of the original Quest transfers as strictly invitational and reinstates two of the sequences above to show the game-going hands (or reverse these allocations if you prefer).

On the next page you will find a table which incorporates all of the choices made above.