Transfer bids to all four suits following an opening bid of No Trump by partner were popular during the 1980s and were used by many bridge players. Therefore, the exact origin remains unknown. This is the extended version of the Jacoby Transfer Bids after an opening of 1 No Trump by the responder to transfer to all four suits. The range of the No Trump opening becomes irrelevant as long as the partnership adjusts their agreement accordingly the number of values held.

Which Came First

There were two versions of four suit transfer bids employed and there is no written record of which version is the original and which followed and/or was adopted later as a variation. Both versions are shown. However, the arbitrarily and perhaps subjectively presumed original version is presented for all following examples. The difference in both versions is the fact that the first response of 2 Spades has no meaning and is therefore considered an idle bid.

Original Version   Variation
2 : transfer to Hearts.
2 : transfer to Spades.
2 : transfer to Clubs.
2 NT: transfer to Diamonds.
 
2 : transfer to Hearts.
2 : transfer to Spades.
2 NT: transfer to Clubs.
3 clubw: transfer to Diamonds.

Note: The employment of either version can be used also by partnerships, which include in their agreement a certain limiting principle of pre-acceptance. Pre-acceptance, in such approaches, only signify whether the No Trump bidder super-accepts the transfer by jumping one level to show maximum values and also the strong preference to play in the transferred suit. This approached is presented below.

     
     

Parameters of the Original Version

For the convenience of the reader the assumed original version is presented as a reminder.

2 : transfer to Hearts.
2 : transfer to Spades.
2 : transfer to Clubs.
2 NT: transfer to Diamonds.

If the responder bids 2 Spades or 2 No Trump, then the No Trump bidder should accept the transfer. The opener will accept the transfer if he has a fit in the suit of the responder. If the opener does not have a fit in the suit of the responder, then the No Trump bidder will make an intermediate bid.

If the responder has equal distribution in both Minor suits and is weak in high card points, the responder will bid 2 No Trump as a transfer, and pass the rebid of the opener.

Note: Four Suit Transfer bids were normally made on weak values with suit length. However, the concept has evolved and continuances have been introduced to allow the partnership to show stronger values. This is achieved by the responder bidding a new suit following the transfer bid. (See Example 2 below.)

Alternative Agreement to Transfer Bid in Original Version

Note: An alternate agreement as to the interpretation of the transfer bid is as follows. Once the responder transfers to a certain suit, then the No Trump bidder can show both a good fit and the maximum range of the agreed No Trump opening. The No Trump bidder can accomplish this by bidding the intermediate suit, which is only one step above the transfer bid of the responder. (See Example 3 below.)

Note: The visitor will immediately recognize that the meaning of the original parameter and the meaning of the alternative agreement cannot be employed simultaneously as a partnership agreement.

The following illustrations assist in clarifying this concept.

Example 1

Opener   Responder   Meaning
spades AQ2
hearts AQ8
diamonds 1094
clubw KQ76
 
spades 65
hearts Q9
diamonds KJ8752
clubw 854
   
1 NT       Shows a No Trump range of 15 to 17 points. The range can be of a different range, but then the partnership must adjust the combined values accordingly.
    2 NT   This first response transfers the No Trump bidder to Diamonds.
3 diamonds       Transfer accepted.
    Pass   The responder passes since the responder is unable to improve the contract.

By interference on the two level by the immediate opponent up to and including an overcall of 2 Spades the responder will disregard the overcall and bid 2 No Trump in order to transfer partner to Diamonds. An overcall of double is ignored and the partnership plays system on.

Example 2

Opener   Responder   Meaning
spades KQJ
hearts J108
diamonds AK94
clubw Q76
 
spades A86
hearts 7
diamonds Q85
clubw KJ10943
   
1 NT       Shows a No Trump range of 15 to 17 points. The range can be of a different range, but then the partnership must adjust the combined values accordingly.
    2 spades   This first response transfers the No Trump bidder to Clubs.
3 clubw       Transfer accepted.
    3 hearts   The responder, wishing to show game values, bids the suit, in which he holds a singleton or void.
4 clubw       The No Trump bidder realizes that a strong inference must be made that there is no stopper in the Heart suit. The No Trump bidder decides to support the long suit of the responder.
    5 clubw   The responder signs off in game.
     
     
The publication Four-Suit Transfers by Barbara Seagram and Mr. Andy Stark, published July 2004 by Master Point Press, ISBN-10: 189415486X / ISBN-13: 978-1894154864, provides an excellent and comprehensive presentation of this conventional method.

Example 3: Quantitative

Many partnerships have recognized the ambiguity of the quantitative bid of 4 No Trump in certain bidding sequences. The following two examples should assist in clarifying this feature:

Opener   Responder   Meaning
spades KQJ
hearts Q108
diamonds AK94
clubw Q76
 
spades A87
hearts A9
diamonds Q5
clubw KJ10984
   
1 NT       Shows a No Trump range of 15 to 17 points. The range can be of a different range, but then the partnership must adjust the combined values accordingly.
    2 spades   This first response transfers the No Trump bidder to Clubs.
2 NT       The No Trump bidder shows a good fit for Clubs and the maximum range for the agreed No Trump opening.
    4 NT   The responder shows slam interest with borderline values, but allows the No Trump bidder to decide. With slam values the responder initiates Gerber. (Note: many partnerships base borderline values on the inferred number of Losing Tricks.)
6 clubw       The No Trump bidder, with maximum values and good Club support, bids the small slam in Clubs following the quantitative and inviting bid of 4 No Trump by responder. A Heart lead might defeat the contract.

Many partnerships have recognized the ambiguity of the quantitative bid of 4 No Trump in certain bidding sequences. The following two examples should assist in clarifying this feature:

Example 4: Ace or Keycard Asking

Opener   Responder   Meaning
spades KQJ
hearts Q108
diamonds AK94
clubw Q76
 
spades 87
hearts AK5
diamonds Q5
clubw AKJ1085
   
1 NT       Shows a No Trump range of 15 to 17 points. The range can be of a different range, but then the partnership must adjust the combined values accordingly.
    2 spades   This first response transfers the No Trump bidder to Clubs.
2 NT       The No Trump bidder shows a good fit for Clubs and the maximum range for the agreed No Trump opening.
    4 clubw   Gerber: It is strongly recommended for the partnership that all Ace or Keycard-asking methods should be based on Gerber in order that the level of bidding not exceed a game contract in a Minor suit.
(bid)   6 clubw   The small slam is bid in Clubs by the responder. If the responder sees a good chance for a contract of 6 No Trump, then this is the decision made by the responder.

Additional Explanations

If the responder has a strong holding and wishes to continue to bid after he has transferred opener to a certain suit, then the continuances become a matter of partnership agreement. In the case that the responder has game or slam values and holds a singleton or void in a higher-ranking suit, then the recommended guideline is to bid the singleton or void. A jump bid to the suit, in which there is a singleton or void, does not constitute a splinter bid; such a jump bid has no meaning as per the original version.

Note: In continuing to bid, the responder may have to switch to the Stayman conventional method for example.

Note: Since this conventional method does not permit the responder to raise immediately to an invitational 2 No Trump, the strongly recommended guideline to overcome this flaw is to first employ the Stayman conventional method, and whatever the No trump bidder responds the responder will rebid 2 No Trump. This approach allows the responder to show an invitational 2 No Trump raise.

The Four-Suit Transfer Bids have been a part of the history of bridge, but has been replaced with other treatments which perhaps more accurately describe the length and strength of the responder. However, this conventional method continues to be employed by many partnerships.

See also: Club Bust and Diamond Bust.

 

 

If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.

 


     
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