Jacoby Transfers

Invented by world champion Oswald Jacoby, the Jacoby Transfer is a popular convention that can improve your notrump bidding. To use this convention, you and your partner agree to change the meanings of your 2D and 2H responses after you open 1NT.

Responder uses one of these artificial bids to describe any hand (of any strength) that has a 5-card or longer major suit. His 2D or 2H response shows 5+ cards in the next higher suit -- 2D shows a heart suit, 2H shows a spade suit. It also "transfers" the actual bid of the real suit to the 1NT opener, who is required to bid the suit responder is promising -- a 2D response forces the 1NT opener to bid 2H; a 2H response forces a 2S bid.

The Jacoby transfer saves bidding space and gives responder an easier, more accurate way to show his strength later in the auction. It also makes the 1NT opener declarer, which can be an advantage. A disadvantage is that gives up the ability to sign off in 2D. Summarized here is one of the simplest transfer systems for those who play a 1NT opening of 15-17 pts. (If you play 16-18, you can adjust responder's recommended point ranges down by 1 point.)

Responder's First Bid

After partner opens 1NT, responder's bids and their meanings are:

Responder's Rebids

If partner opens 1NT, use the Jacoby Transfer with any hand that has a 5+-card major suit. After partner bids your suit, choose a rebid that describes your hand further.
Here are the meanings of your second bids after the auction:

1NT by partner -- 2D (transfer) by you -- 2H by partner -- _____

Opener's Rebids

If responder transfers and then rebids notrump or a new suit, opener must decide whether to play in notrump or in partner's suit. Always choose partner's major if you have 3+-card support. If partner's rebid was invitational, you must also show your strength by choosing the right level. If responder transfers and rebids 2NT (invitational), you should:

Over 2NT Openings

You can also use transfers after partner opens 2NT (3D to show 5+ hearts, 3H to show 5+ spades). After the transfer, responder can:
©  Karen Walker