JACOBY Transfers over Notrump

I. Getting the Strong Notrump Hand to Declare the Major

One of the primary objectives of bidding is to find an eight card major suit fit and play in it at the appropriate level. Jacoby transfer bids make it easier to describe hands with five and six card major suits when partner opens 1NT.

This is how it works, you bid the suit below your long major suit:

2 says “I have 5+ hearts”
2 says “I have 5+ spades”

Now partner bids your suit, 2 or 2 . This has transferred the declaring of the major to partner’s stronger hand. It is an advantage to have the hand with more high cards make the last play at trick one.

Look at the following suit combinations:

1)

K76

2)

AQ2

3)

KQ6
843 543 975

Would you prefer to have the top or bottom holding in dummy if you were declaring 2 on the J lead? You want to make the strong notrump opener the declarer in order to protect its tenaces from being lead through. Also it can be useful to have the strong hand concealed during the play, so that the best defense is not obvious to the opponents.

The cost of playing transfers is that you can no longer play in 2 after partner opens 1NT. We will see if the gains are worth that price. Also, whenever you add a new convention or treatment, both you and your partner have to remember it when it comes up! It is important to inform the opponents when you make a bid that doesn’t mean what they might expect it to mean, the current rule is to say “transfer” when partner bids 2 or 2 .

1. Partner opens 1NT, 16-18, and you hold the following hands, make a bid:

 

543 AQ674 98 K76 KJ9873
J10987 87 QJ10765 KQ54 84
2 K43 K7 K532 96
K542 J98 J87 75 J65
Pts ______ Pts ______ Pts ______ Pts ______ Pts ______
Bid _____ Bid _____ Bid _____ Bid _____ Bid _____

II. Describing Your Major Suit Hand After a Transfer

After you transfer the suit to your partner, either you are done bidding or you want partner to choose the level and possibly the denomination to play in.

With 0-7 points you are finished bidding, with 8-9 you want partner to bid game with a maximum, and with 10 points you know your side has a game. If you have a six card or longer suit, you want to play in your known eight card fit; with five, you would like partner to choose, playing in your suit only with three card or longer support. You do this by bidding NT when you have only a five card suit and raising when you have six or more:

 

Bid after the Transfer Hand Strength Point Range Major Suit Length
Pass Sign-off 0-7 5+ card suit
2NT Invite 8-9 5 card suit
3 major Invite 8-9 6+ card suit
3NT Game Force 10+ 5 card suit
4 major Game Force 10+ 6+ card suit

Exercise 2 . Partner opens 1NT, 16-18, and you hold the following hands, make a bid, then make your next bid after partner makes the expected response:

A. B. C. D. E.
543 K76 AJ674 98 KJ9873
J10987 KQ543 87 QJ10765 84
2 K53 K43 K7 K6
K542 75 982 J87 Q65
Pts ______ Pts ______ Pts ______ Pts ______ Pts ______
Bid 1____ Bid 1____ Bid 1____ Bid 1____ Bid 1____
Bid 2____ Bid 2____ Bid 2____ Bid 2____ Bid 2____

 

III. What does 2 mean over 1NT now?

People play many different conventions, so be sure to check on this with a new partner. The simplest treatment is to use 2 to sign off in your six card minor. It asks partner to bid 3 over which you either pass or bid 3. Assume you are playing 2 this way for the remaining problems. Feel free to skip the next paragraph on other treatments for 2 .

More advanced treatments include Minor Suit Stayman and Four Suit Transfers. Minor Suit Stayman is used with a slam try that includes both minors and asks partner to bid a four card minor if they have one, otherwise to bid 2NT. Four suit transfer bidders use 2 to transfer to clubs and 2NT to transfer to diamonds, this allows both sign off and invitational minor suit hands to be bid since partner can refuse the transfer when she would turn down an invitation. This has the disadvantage of giving up the natural invitational raise in Notrump, partner must bid 2 and then 2NT with that hand.

Exercise 3. Partner opens 1NT, 16-18, and you hold the following hands, make a bid, then make your next bid after partner makes the expected response:

A B. C. D. E.
54 763 4 AJ1098 AK987
652 KQ543 872 QJ1076 4
K2 K53 QJ9876 97 96
J109874 75 743 7 KQJ96
Pts ______ Pts ______ Pts ______ Pts ______ Pts ______
Bid 1____ Bid 1____ Bid 1____ Bid 1____ Bid 1____
Bid 2____ Bid 2____ Bid 2____ Bid 2____ Bid 2____

 

IV. Responding to One NoTrump with Both Majors

When you transfer to a major, and then bid a second suit at the three level your bid is forcing to game . The reason for this is that you have no safety above 2NT with less than 26 points and no eight card fit.

So how do you handle a hand with both majors?

  • Use Stayman whenever one of your majors is only 4 cards in length
  • Start with a Jacoby Transfer when both of your majors are at least 5 cards long
  • Rebid at the 3 level with a game force (or raise a shown 4 card major to 4)
  • Rebid at the 2 level with a game invite (or raise a shown 4 card major to 3)

Exercise 4. What is responder?s strength and distribution on the following auctions?

 

A.

You

Partner

B.

You

Partner

C.

You

Partner

1NT

2

1NT

2

1NT

2

2

3

2

3

2

2

 

 

D.

You

Partner

E.

You

Partner

F.

You

Partner

1NT

2

1NT

2

1NT

2

2

2

2

2

2

3

 

The following table summarizes the auctions for hands with both majors .

 

Signing off (0-7 pts) Inviting (8-9 pts) Forcing (10+ pts)
5+ 5+ 2 transfer 2 transfer 2 transfer
then Pass then 2 then 3
5+ 4 2 transfer 2 Stayman 2 Stayman
then Pass then 2 then 3 *
4 5+ 2 transfer 2 Stayman 2 Stayman
then Pass then 2 then 3 *

 

 

V. When Partner Opens 2NT or 3NT

When your partner opens 2NT or 3NT, you can still use Jacoby transfers. There is less bidding room to work with, so there are no invitational hands. If you do not pass or pass after transferring, then the auction is forcing to game. Over 2NT, when you transfer to your 5+ card major with game values and only a five card suit, you bid 3NT next; but with six or more, you raise to four of the major. Again, hands with both majors use Stayman when one major is only four cards long and start with a transfer with longer suits.

VI. Transfers are Still Available after Partner Overcalls in Notrump

It is very useful to also play transfers and Stayman after partner overcalls any number of notrump. The transfer to the opponents major suit is usually used to express doubt about notrump with game values but not four or more cards in the unbid major.

VII. Adjustments to Major Suit Bidding with Crawling Stayman

Many players prefer to handle weak hands with both majors by bidding Stayman and then either passing partner?s major suit bid or bidding 2 next to ask partner to pick a major. This means that transferring to hearts followed by 2 must be used for the invitational 5+ 4 hand and you have to start with Stayman on the invitational 5+ 5+ .

 

Signing off (0-7 pts) Inviting (8-9 pts) Forcing (10+ pts)
5+ 5+ 2 Stayman 2 Stayman 2 transfer
then 2 then 2 then 3
5+ 4 2 transfer 2 Stayman 2 Stayman
then Pass then 2 then 3 *
4 5+ 2 transfer 2 Stayman 2 Stayman
then Pass then 2 then 3 *

 

* Advanced players use the Smolen convention instead. This convention jumps in the 4 card major instead of the 5 card one, so that the Notrump opener can declare when there is a 5-3 fit. Therefore the bid would be a jump to 3 after Stayman and a 2 response to show 4 s and 5s.

 

30 thoughts on “JACOBY Transfers over Notrump

  1. Judy Komer

    When using Jacoby transfers, does partner call “alert”?
    Do opponents, the ask partner of the transferrer what the alert means?
    I have a bridge book that says partner says the word “transfer” – and when playing duplicate bridge, the only word used to describe any convention was “alert” until an inquiry by the opponents. Do transfers have to be alertable?
    Please – which is correct?
    thanks

    Reply
  2. Sybil Nessim

    Thank u
    My question is with 7
    A 8
    752
    75
    QJ10854

    After my part opwn 1nt
    I transfer to 2 sp
    3 cl
    How do we go to game??
    She has 17 points and A963
    Thank you so much. Sybil

    Reply
  3. Kitty Cooper

    The modern style is that when partner transfers to a minor, you can show a hand that would accept a game try versus one that would turn down a game try. One hand takes the between bid (2NT over the 2 transfer) and the other accepts the transfer by bidding 3. Modern experts prefer to take the transfer only when they would accept the game try and bid the between step when they refuse. Some players prefer to do it the other way round.

    So in this case your partner would have shown a hand that accepted your game try and then you would happily bid 3NT.

    You actually have 7HCP and 3 points for the long suit making 10 thus many players would just bid 3NT with your hand

    Reply
  4. Kay Eberman

    What are the response options to 1 nt if the opponent bids before the partner? are stamen and transfers still used? especially if the bid is still at the 2 level?

    Reply
  5. kitty cooper

    Once the opponents have bid, they have taken away your bidding room so Stayman and transfers are off.

    However some partnerships like to play Double is a transfer to the next suit or Stayman if the opponents bid 2C. Then the other suit bids can still be transfers. This is something to discuss with your partner.

    Reply
  6. kitty cooper

    That depends on whether you wish to force to game or just invite. 3 is invitational to game with 6 spades while 3 is game forcing with 4+

    Reply
  7. Linda Tiveron

    Who says the word “transfer” and when? N bids 1 nt; w-pass; s-says 2 hearts-do they say transfer or me, N, the bidder?

    Reply
    1. Kitty Cooper

      Linda
      The partner of the person who makes the transfer bid says transfer when playing in person but online at BBO you alert your own bids

      Reply
  8. Kitty Cooper

    There is no one standard treatment for clubs, probably because minors do not score as well as majors or no trump. So you need to agree with your partner which method you use for minors. These are listed above under the heading What does 2 mean over 1NT now?

    Reply
  9. Cookie Cooper

    Who is considered making the Transfer? Is it the Responder to Partner’s 1NT, or would that change if they make more bids to find their fit…

    Reply
  10. Kitty Cooper

    When you have a weak hand and a five card or longer suit, you are more likely to make two of your suit than 1NT so yes transfer with both hands you mention

    Reply
  11. Joseph louis

    If the 1NT’s opener has only 2 suit’s cards of the partner’s transfer(H or S), must he acept the transfer?
    Thank you.

    Reply
  12. Kitty Cooper

    Yes opener must accept the transfer no matter how many he has. More advanced players use bidding a different suit to show a hand too good to accept the transfer with 4 card support that is now better than a strong NT in support points

    Reply
  13. Sharon Mansell

    When partner opens a strong 2 and response is an ace or a king, opener now goes into 2 no trump saying he has 20-21, responder transferred to hearts, does opener need to accept the transfer and respond no trump or does opener need to accept transfer!

    Reply
  14. Kitty Cooper

    as over 1NT, you accept the transfer even if partner already bid that suit as a response to your 2

    the difference is you know partner is not broke so you do not have to jump or bid a new suit. Best to let partner continue describing their hand.

    Reply
  15. Dick Henderson

    Is it ever acceptable for the 1NT declarer to announce “transfer” but then make a different bid than demanded by the responder? For example, responder bids 2D. Declarer says “transfer” and then bids 2NT because he has only one or two hearts but has a strong balanced hand in the other three suits.

    Reply
  16. Kitty Cooper

    NO
    Sometimes partner has a very weak hand and is planning to pass after you take the transfer. Even with only 2 cards this may be the only contract that makes.
    Advanced players use 2NT to show a hand that is now BETTER than a 1NT opener in support of the major. So 4 trumps and a maximum hand.

    Reply
  17. Kitty Cooper Post author

    Answers ….

    Answers:

    A

    B

    C

    D

    E

    F.

    1. Pts

    5

    11

    9

    11

    7

    Bid

    2¨

    2©

    2¨

    2§

    2©

    2. Pts

    5

    12

    9

    9

    11

    Bid 1

    2¨

    2¨

    2©

    2¨

    2©

    Bid 2

    Pass

    3NT

    2NT

    3©

    4ª

    3. Pts

    6

    9

    5

    10

    15

    Bid 1

    2ª

    2¨

    2ª

    2©

    2©

    Bid 2

    Pass

    2NT

    3¨

    4© (or
    3©)

    3§

    4. Partner

    5©4ª
    10+

    5ª5©
    10+

    5ª4©
    8-9

    5©5ª
    8-9

    5©4ª
    8-9

    4+ª
    8-9

    Reply
  18. Grace O'Brien

    Suppose I open 1D, LHO overcalls 2C, my partner passes. I then bid 2NT, LHO passes , my partner has 5 Hearts. Can he respond 3 diamonds to transfer to 3 hearts at this point?

    Reply
    1. Kitty Cooper Post author

      Apologies, I answered you days ago but somehow that answer did not go through.

      After a 2NT rebid like yours, the standard way to play is no transfers any more. After all, with a poor hand, partner may want to escape to 3 and with 5 partner might have been able to bid before, either 2 competitive or negative double if they have two places to play (hearts and either spades or diamonds in this case)

      Reply
  19. Kitty Cooper

    The partner of the person who makes the transfer if you are playing live bridge.
    The bidder if you are playing online

    Reply

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