M J Bridge

Theory and Conventions



Exit transfers

When your opponents don’t interfere your most powerful tool is your transfer system.

By giving you the opportunity to bid twice it enables you to deal with both weak and strong hands - it gives you a way of showing both single-suited and two-suited holdings - and in addition it enables you to show balanced hands with a five-card or longer suit.

Not surprisingly, one of the best ways of dealing with intervention over 1NT will also be based around a system of transfers.

The transfer responses

When partner opens 1NT and RHO doubles, use the following system of transfers:-

Redouble transfer to clubs;

2          transfer to diamonds;

2          transfer to hearts;

2          transfer to spades.

Each of the above promises at least five cards in the suit.

Note that we can now escape into both clubs and diamonds at the two-level.

These bids will usually provide a take-out into a five-card (or longer) suit on a weak hand.

However they will occasionally be used as the first step in a more constructive sequence when holding some strength.

9 6 2

T 8 3

8 7

K 8 5 3 2

Partner opened 1NT and RHO doubled.


Partner will convert the transfer to 2, and you will pass.

A K Q 6 2

8 3

A T 9 6 4


Partner opened 1NT and RHO doubled.

This hand is powerful in playing terms, but 1NTx might be defeated in either clubs or hearts.  Bid 2, then rebid 3 (natural and forcing) after partner converts to 2.

You will play in a game contract your way.

The forcing pass and reopening redouble

The questions which arise are:-

how do I show some strength in a hand which does not contain a five-card suit?;


what do I do with a weak hand and no five-card suit?

The solution is to incorporate a forcing pass.

Following an opening 1NT, an immediate double, and two passes, opener must reopen with a redouble.

If you hold some strength (say a minimum of eight points) you will pass this redouble.

If you are weaker than this you will bid your lowest four-card suit in search of a 4-3 fit or better.


T 9 7 3

Q T 6 4

8 6

Partner opened 1NT and RHO doubled.

Pass.  Partner must redouble if the bidding comes round to him, after which you will pass again.  Any subsequent double by you or partner as the opponents try to escape will be for penalties.

A 7 5

T 9 7 3

Q T 6 4

8 6

Partner opened 1NT and RHO doubled.


Partner must redouble if the bidding comes round to him, after which you will bid 2 (your lowest four-card suit) as you search for a cheap escape.

Exit transfers provide more and better constructive sequences than Halmic or Helvic but they are less effective on the considerably more frequent weak responding hands.  At the same time they give the opponents more bidding space in which to come up with their own creative auction.

My choice would be to play Halmic (or Helvic) if playing mostly at pairs scoring, but to consider exit transfers if playing much of your bridge at imps scoring.

Intermediate and above

Opener’s first bid

This page last revised 6th Jun 2019

Context  -  Partner opened 1NT - RHO doubled (natural).

Opener’s rebid