Transfers to the Majors


Transfers to the Majors

Transfers are very popular these days because they make responding to No Trump openings a lot more accurate. You and partner must agree to play transfers over 1NT & 2NT. A transfer occurs when you bid the suit ranked directly below the suit you actually hold, and it asks partner to bid your suit for you e.g., if you hold hearts, you bid diamonds, if you hold spades, you bid hearts!
1NT p 2♦ (= I have at least five hearts. Please bid 2♥, partner, and I'll tell you more). Partner doesn't have much choice in the matter, because they simply bid the suit you're transferring them to.

Transfers may contain any number of points, from 0 - 20+, but will always have five + cards in the suit you transfer to. Bid at the lowest available level to transfer, regardless of how many points you hold e.g. 1NT p 2♥ p 2♠ p ...this responding hand might have a lot of points but still bids first at the two level. Partner can't pass so you can describe your hand later.  

There's more bidding room with transfers because it initiates another round of bidding, and the strong hand is able to be declarer.  
Transfers go hand in hand with the Stayman Convention. Using (ordinary) Stayman shows four-card majors, and using transfers always show five+ cards in the suit you transfer partner to.

 Responses to Partner's 1NT Opening with Major Suits

·      2♣ is always Stayman
       2♦ (transfer) asks opener to bid 2♥ (shows a hand with five+ hearts)
       2♥(transfer) asks opener to bid 2♠ (shows a hand with five+ spades)

Opener's Next Move

It depends on what responder shows, and if they pass, then that's it - to play, but if they show an invitational or game-forcing hand, then opener makes a bid based on their points and fit (or otherwise), in the suit responder has transferred to.   

North   East     South   West
1NT      P          2♦          P
2♥         or
1NT      P          2♥          P

Opener may also super accept by jumping to the three level in the requested suit (if a major) when holding four-card support and (usually) maximum points eg
North   East     South   West
1NT      P          2♦        P
3♥       This follows the Law of Total Tricks (bid at the three level with nine trumps) 

Responder's Next Move

After responder has transferred partner, and the bidding comes back to them

  • Pass = minimum (0-7), so you will play in a partscore in your major eg 1NT P 2♦ P 2♥ P P P

  • Rebid 2NT = invitational (8,9 pts), showing five cards in the major suit eg 1NT P 2♦ P 2♥ P 2NT

  • Raise to 3♥ or 3♠ = invitational (8,9 pts), showing a six+ card suit eg 1NT P 2♦ P 2♥ P 3♥

  • Raise to 4♥ or 4♠ = enough points for game (10+pts) eg 1NT P 2♦ P 2♥ P 4♥

  • Jump to 3NT = five cards in the major, maximum (10+ pts) asks opener to choose between 3NT and 4 of the major suit eg 1NT P 2♦ P 2♥ P 3NT P

  • Bid a new suit = natural (four + cards) and game forcing, maximum (10+ pts) eg 1NT P 2♦ P 2♥ P 3♣ (shows at least five hearts and at least four clubs)

Test your knowledge

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