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M J Bridge

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Simple four-suit transfers


This extension of the basic ideas of transfers as encapsulated in ‘red-suit transfers’ is far from common-place, but it achieves all the basic aims of transfers in a simple and economical manner - it is simple - it is logical - and it is effective.


All the sequences available with red-suit transfers remain available.  For relevant examples refer to the appropriate page.

In addition this convention provides similar facilities for hands which are minor-suit orientated, together with one or two valuable additional sequences.


To achieve all of this we need do no more than add two bids to our system of red-suit transfers.


In response to an opening bid of 1NT from partner:-


2    is Stayman, as before;

2    instructs partner to bid 2 and promises at least a five-card suit, as before;

2♥     instructs partner to bid 2, and promises at least a five-card suit, as before;

2♠     instructs partner to bid 3, and promises at least a six-card suit (or five-card subject to partnership agreement);

3   instructs partner to bid 3, and promises at least a six-card suit (or five-card subject to partnership agreement).


If our suit happens to be a major we can show any one of:-


a weak take-out;

an invitational raise on a six-card suit;

a game-raise on a six-card suit;

an invitational balanced hand with a five-card major;

a game-going balanced hand with a five-card major;

and some hands with at least 5-4 shape;


by doing nothing more than making a transfer bid as above and then making an appropriate subsequent bid.


If our suit is a minor we have a similar set of options, although we may choose to redefine a raise of the minor-suit as a slam-try.


Weak take-out


To do this you simply transfer and then pass.


a weak transfer into a five-card major is usually correct;

a weak take-out into a six-card minor is only rarely correct (are you certain you can make two extra tricks?);

a weak take-out into a seven-card or longer minor is usually correct, except when it approximates to a running suit and might justify a try for 3NT.


This is an extreme example of when you might choose to make a weak take-out into a minor.

8 4

6 3

7 5

T 9 8 7 6 5 2

Partner opened 1NT.

Your hand might make a few tricks in a club contract - otherwise it is worthless.

Bid 2 - if you are playing simple four-suit transfers.

Partner will bid 3 and you will pass.


Stronger hands


I shall consider just two situations in the following.  Further possibilities are to be found under ‘intermediate and beyond’, and again in responder’s rebid.


Game-going with a minor


If your choice of final contract might be 3NT then in the context of simple four-suit transfers (as here) or natural and forcing bids at the three-level (beginners’ methods) your transfer into a minor followed by a bid of 3NT should suggest a mild slam interest.

If all you want to do is play in 3NT then just bid it directly in the first place.


Five minor and four major (but note the last paragraph below)


The unbalanced game-going hand with a five-card minor and a four-card major can be extremely difficult to bid with beginner methods.

Too often you or your partner will be forced to guess at the best game contract, and it won’t always be the correct guess.


Suppose you have sufficient for game, then which of the three possible destination contracts - 3NT, four of the major, and five of the minor - should you choose?


The answer is - you don’t.

Simply tell partner exactly what you have got and then leave him to make the choice.


An excellent improvers’ method is simply to transfer into your minor and then follow with a natural and forcing bid in the major

- note that such a sequence can be used with no more than five cards in the minor (subject to partnership agreement) and four cards in the major.


If that doesn’t help partner to judge the final contract correctly then what does?


This method is both effective and intuitive.


However, I have to admit that this interpretation of this sequence is not the choice of most expert partnerships.

The alternative approach will be found under ‘intermediate and beyond’ along with a brief evaluation of the two methods.

Opener’s first bid

Opener’s rebid

This page last revised 16th Oct 2019

Post-beginner and above

Context  -  Partner opened 1NT - RHO passed - improvers’ methods - transfers