Advanced Bridge


Lesson 17





Transfers over Partner’s opening bid of 1NT are, today, almost universal.   Some partnerships use 2-Way Transfers (for the Majors only); some use 3-Way Transfers

(Minor Suit Stayman); and some utilize 4-Way Transfers.   The following 4-Way Transfer method incorporates the best combinations of the several ways 4-Way Transfers can be played.


A.  Minor Suit Transfers:   Transferring to the either Minor suit (Clubs or Diamonds) piggy-backs similarly on top of the two Major suit transfers one customarily uses.  Such transfers, however, customarily evidence a 6-card Minor suit holding as opposed to at least 5 cards when a Major suit Transfer is used.   The reason is that when you are weak and wish to play in 3C or 3D, you require six cards (not five) in the suit in order to make a better contract than 1-NT.  Indeed, there is no point in showing a five-card Minor suit holding when Responder’s shape is something like (3-2-3-5) - you’re going to play in No Trump anyhow.


1NT      “2S” (Alertable)   (Shows at least 6-Clubs)


1NT     “2NT” (Alertable)   (Shoes at least 6-Diamonds)


A.    Opener’s Response to Minor Suit Transfers:    Notice that Minor suit Transfers, used as

stated herein, are two levels below the indicated suit.  Opener, therefore, has two possible rebids that do not go past the intended suit of the Responder.   The Responder may wish to know how strong Opener’s holding is in the directed suit in cases where a “Gambling 3NT” holding is held by the Responder.  If the Opener holds a good fit in Responder’s suit (at least K-X-X), Opener makes a “Super Acceptance” or “Break From the Transfer” by bidding the in-between bid (“2NT” over “2S” and “3C” over “2NT”).   On all other hands Opener will accept (or complete) the transfer and bid 3 of Responder’s suit.  Thus, when Opener replies with a bid in Responder’s suit, this is known as “accepting the transfer”; whereas if Opener bids the in-between suit, Opener is making a “super-acceptance” in case game be feasible.


(1)  Opener’s Hand     Opener’s Bids                  Responder’s Bid

AKX             1NT                               “2S”

KQXX           “3C” (Completing the Transfer)


XXX             1NT                               “2NT”

“3C” (Breaks the Transfer)




(2) Responder’s Hand     Responder’s Bids             Opener’s Bid

XX                                                 1NT

XX             “2S” (Transfer to Clubs)            3C

KXX            Pass



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(3) Responder’s Hand       Responder’s Bids          Opener’s Bid

XX                                               1NT

XX            “2NT” (Transfer to Diamonds)      “3C” (Break)

AQXXXX         3NT (Gambling Game Attempt)





C.  Responder’s Invitational NT:   Since the “2NT” bid by Responder is used to denote a transfer to Diamonds, it is no longer available when Responder, holding 8-9+ HCP’s wishes to invite Opener to 3NT.   In such instances, therefore, Responder must bid a Stayman “2C” and then rebid an invitational 2NT not-with-standing the absence of a 4-card Major suit holding.  A sequence such as 1NT-“2C”-2H-2NT no longer guarantees that Responder holds a 4-card Spade suit.  Responder’s “2C” bid is thus Alertable in that it may, or may not, evidence one or more 4-card Major suit holding(s).


(4)  Responder’s Hand       Responder’s Bids          Opener’s Bid

QXXX                                           1NT

KX                   “2C”                     “2D”

AXXX                 2NT (Invitational)



Note:   The 1NT Opener may use his/her judgment in deciding whether to make the in-between bid following Responder’s transfer bid.  Suppose, for example, Opener holds K-X-X in Responder’s Minor suit but has a bundle of Queens and Jacks in one or more of the other suits and only one Ace.  The chances of making three outside quick tricks is diminished and Opener may elect not to make a “Super Acceptance” bid so as NOT to entice Responder should he/she be contemplating a Gambling 3NT attempt.






D.  Responder’s Sign-Off in a Minor:   One of the most common purposes for a Minor suit Transfer is to sign off in a long suit when the Responder wishes to place the contract in what he/she believes is a more likely makeable contract than Opener’s 1NT.


(5)  Responder’s Hand       Responder’s Bids          Opener’s Bid

XX                                             1NT

KXX                  “2NT”                     “3C”

JXXXXX                3D (Sign-off – No Interest in Game)

XXX            (Not-with-Standing Opener’s Super Acceptance)



“2NT”                    3D







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C.    Responder’s Evidence of a Second Suit:  Suppose Opener opens 1NT and the Responder holds game values and a 6-4 shape including a 6-card Minor and 4 cards in a Major suit.  Responder must, in these instances, show the Minor with a transfer response, and then bid his/her 4-card suit at the 3-Level.



(6)  Responder’s Hand       Responder’s Bids           Opener’s Bid

J                                                1NT

AQXX                  “2S”                      “3C”

XX                     3H (Showing 6-4 Shape)



Here, the Responder bids “2S” showing long Clubs.  Whether or not Opener breaks the transfer, Responder will continue with a bid at the 3-Level of his/her 4-card Major showing a second suit and game values.  Opener can either bid 4H, 5C, or 3NT to deny a fit anywhere.   Remember that with a 5-card Major and a 4-card Major, Responder must begin with Stayman, never with a Jacoby Transfer.




D.   Use of 3C, 3D, 3H, and 3S by Responder:  Since Gambling tries can be attempted with a super acceptance by Opener, as seen above, any first responses to a 1NT opening bid at the 3-Level by Responder can be used as follows:



1NT      “3C” (Alertable)   (5-5 in the Minors - Weak)


1NT      “3D” (Alertable)   (5-5 in the Minors - Strong)


1NT      “3H” (Alertable)   (5-5 in the Majors - Weak)


1NT      “3S” (Alertable)   (5-5 in the Majors - Strong)


















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