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Applebasket Entry, 2014

Submitted by: Brian Richardson--tied 3-6


There are 3 reasons why bridge players should make a transfer bid when partner opens either 1NT (15-17, or 16-18 points) or 2NT.

  1. By transferring we will ensure that the stronger hand will be Declarer, and thus that hand will not be visible to the defenders. If the defenders can see Declarer’s hand then it can often be easier for them to defend.
  2. As the stronger hand is now Declarer the opening lead has to come up to his strength, rather than through his strength, which would occur if he was Dummy.
  3. The use of a transfer bidding structure can enable the partnership to bid more accurately to the optimum contract.

While, as teachers, we emphasize the first two reasons, many of us pay scant attention to the 3rd. That 3rd reason is at least as important as the first two. Consider the following hand which you have after partner has opened 1NT:

  1. ♠987, ♥T9832, ♦T843, ♣8. You should bid 2♦ with this hand and pass partner’s 2♥ response. With a slight change to the hand:
  2. ♠A98, ♥J9832, ♦K84, ♣83, you should re-bid 2NT after partner’s 2♥ re-bid. With another slight change to the hand:
  3. ♠AK8, ♥J9832, ♦Q843, ♣8, you should re-bid either 3♦ or 3NT.

If you were not using transfer bids I doubt that you would bid 2♥ on (a), you may possibly bid 2♥ on (b), and you should bid either 2♥ or 3♥ on (c). Whether any of those contracts would make, with the opening lead going through the strong Dummy, is unclear.

The biggest problem that “non-transfer” players face is that they can end up passing their partner’s 1NT opening with a hand like (a), when a transfer bid can put them in the best contract, with 2♥ making and 1NT being defeated.

My tips for teachers – explain all 3 reasons for using transfer bids and teach students to transfer whenever they have 5 or more cards in a major suit and between 0 and 25 points!