Jacoby transfer


Jacoby transfer

The Jacoby transfer, in the card game contract bridge, is a convention initiated by a responder following partner's no trump opening bid. Nowadays the term "Jacoby" is rarely used, especially outside North America, and the convention is simply called a "transfer".

History

American bridge players became aware of transfer bids by way of an article in "The Bridge World" in 1956 by Oswald Jacoby. Transfers have such utility in no trump bidding that they enjoy broad acceptance by most players, in duplicate and in rubber bridge. In many parts of the world their usage is so widespread (eg the UK) that they are known simply as "transfers".

Usage

By a simple procedure, transfers allow a weak take-out contract (following an opening 1NT) in a major suit to be played by the opening (ie. the stronger) hand thus concealing the tenaces in that hand. An additional benefit of transfers is that they allow more bidding space in the search for the optimum contract.

In the 1990s further developments of the transfer procedures enabled them to be used to even greater effect. The use of "bouncing" and "breaking" rebids by opener offered partnerships the opportunity to find safe game contracts with fewer high card points than with traditional methods.

Initial transfer bid

The transfer procedure is quite simple and is described first in response to a 1NT opening bid:
* Holding a 5-card major suit, responder would traditionally bid 2, 3 or 4 of that suit depending on strength; using transfers, responder will instead bid 2 of the suit "below" the major suit
* Partner (opener) must then bid 2 of the next suit up (ie the major suit in question)
* Examples:
** 1NT - 2Diams (I have a 5-card heart suit partner) - opener must rebid 2Hearts
** 1NT - 2Hearts (I have a 5-card spade suit partner) - opener must rebid 2SpadesOpener can super-accept the transfer by bidding 3 of the major with a maximum hand containing at least 4 cards in that major.

An immediate disadvantage of this method is that it is incompatible with a weak take out into 2Diams, although as with the loss of the 2Clubs weak take-out when using Stayman, this is not generally considered a serious loss.

Subsequent standard bids

After the transfer has been completed by the 1NT opener, subsequent bids by the transfer initiator are:
* Weak hands
** Pass, to play a partial game in the transferred suit
* Invitational hands
** 2NT, giving the strong partner the option of continuing to game or playing a partial game, in either no trump or the transferred suit
** 3 of the transferred suit, promising a six-card suit
* Game strength hands
** New suit, showing 5-4 or 5-5 and game forcing
** 3NT, allowing opener a choice of 3NT or 4 of the major
** 4 in the transferred suit, to play promising a six-card suit

Non-standard but common subsequent bids

Since a 2Spades response is no longer required for a weak take-out into spades, it is often used in other ways:
* In SAYC, the 2Spades response is used to sign off in either minor at the 3-level. It forces opener to bid 3Clubs:
** 1NT - 2Spades - 3Clubs - Pass with a weak hand with at least 6 clubs.
** 1NT - 2Spades - 3Clubs - 3Diams with a weak hand with at least 6 diamonds.
* Simple use of the 2Spades response is to split the traditional 2NT response in a precise HCP way eg for Acol (1NT = 12-14 HCP):
** 1NT - 2Spades = I have a balanced hand and exactly 11 HCP
** 1NT - 2NT = I have a balanced hand and exactly 12 HCP
* This has been further refined to include the use of the 2Spades bid as a means of transferring into a minor suit, thus for Acol:
** 1NT - 2Spades (I may have 11 HCP or I may have a long minor suit) - opener rebids:
*** 2NT with a weak hand (ie (12 HCP) - partner then choses between passing or bidding a minor suit.
*** 3Clubs with a strong hand (14 HCP) - partner then choses between 3NT, passing or bidding diamonds.
* An alternative method of minor suit transfers is to use 2Spades as a transfer to Clubs and 3Clubs as a transfer to Diams.

Modern additions to transfer procedures

Although part of the early writings on transfers in the 1950s, "bouncing" and "breaking" have only become widespread in the UK since the 1990s. As promulgated by Paul Mendelson, they are:
* Bouncing (also known as Bypassing). Following the standard initiation of a transfer sequence (eg 1NT - 2Diams - ?).
** Opener rebids 3Hearts with a maximum point count (14 with Acol) and 4-card support for hearts.
** With all other hands, opener rebids 2Hearts.
* Breaking. Following the same initial sequence of 1NT - 2Diams - ?:
** Opener rebids 3 of an unexpected suit (3Diams) to show maximum points (14 with Acol) and a poor doubleton (xx) in the bid suit (eg diamonds)With these two devices (bouncing and breaking) it is possible to discover games that would otherwise be missed at very little risk.

Using transfers in other NT situations

Transfers work well following other NT bids. A common usage follows an opening bid of 2NT where a weak take out into 3 of a major becomes a possibility whereas with traditional methods such a bid would be forcing.

Transfers following a double

Following a double (partner opens 1NT, opponent doubles) there are two options in fairly common use:
* Transfers and Stayman become inoperative ie all 2 level bids are for take-out. This has the advantage of simplicity but the disadvantage that the stronger hand becomes dummy with a resultant offering of information to opponents.
* All 2-level bids become transfers according to this scheme (known as "exit transfers" in some quarters):
** redouble transfers to 2Clubs.
** 2Clubs transfers to 2Diams.
** 2Diams transfers to 2Hearts.
** 2Hearts transfers to 2Spades.
** 2Spades (Acol - I have 11 HCP) transfers to NT at the appropriate level.
** 2NT (Acol - I have 12 HCP)(Note: some partnerships use a "forcing pass" by the partner of the 1NT opener. The 1NT opener is then obliged to re-double. The partner of the 1NT opener may then pass the re-double with a good hand and 1NT re-doubled is judged to be makeable, or with a poor hand initiate bidding 4-card suits up-the-line until at least at 4-3 suit fit is found).

Transfers following an intervening bid

Standard bidding in most systems is that all responses following a natural suit overcall are themselves natural bids ("double" may be used for take-out). An alternative is that such responses, including "double", act as transfers. For example, following a 1NT opening and a 2Diams overcall:
*double ... transfer to hearts
*2Hearts ... transfer to spades
*2Spades ... transfer to clubs

References

*Standard applications of the Jacoby transfer are fully described in "Standard American 21" by John Sheridan Thomas (ISBN 1-4120-2063-8).
*Paul Mendelson. "Mendelson's Guide to the Bidding Battle", 1998. Colt Books, Cambridge, England. ISBN 0-905899-86-5


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