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
Responder's First Bid
After partner opens 1NT, responder's bids and their meanings are:
2C = Stayman, asking for a 4-card major.
2D = Transfer to 2H, showing 5+ hearts and any strength. The 1NT
opener must bid 2H.
2H = Transfer to 2S, showing 5+ spades and any strength. The 1NT
opener must bid 2S.
2S = Minor Suit "Stayman", asking partner for a 4-card
minor. You can use 2S to show any hand with both minors, but
it's most valuable use is by either a very weak hand or a very strong,
slam-invitational hand. With intermediate strength and both minors, you'll
usually want to play 3NT, so asking about opener's minor-suit length won't
be as helpful.
After responder's 2S, the 1NT opener bids 3C or 3D if he has
at least a 4-card suit. Responder can then pass with the weak hand or bid
on with a strong hand.
If opener has no 4-card minor, he rebids 2NT. Responder can
then show a weak hand by bidding 3C (asking partner to pass or "correct"
to 3D). To show a stronger, slam-invitational hand, responder can "cuebid"
3H or 3S to show a singleton.
2NT = Invitational to 3NT, showing about 8-9 pts. with no 4-card
or 5-card major.
3C, 3D = Invitational to 3NT, showing 6-8 pts. and a long, broken
suit. Opener accepts if he has "fillers" in your suit, fast outside tricks
and/or a maximum opening.
3H, 3S = If you're using Jacoby transfers, you won't need these bids
to show a long suit. You can assign special meanings to them -- for example,
they might show 5-5 in the majors (3H to show an invitational hand; 3S
for a forcing-to-game hand).
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
1NT by partner -- 2D (transfer) by you -- 2H by partner -- _____
Pass = Weak hand (0-7 pts.).
2NT = Invitational to 4H or 3NT, exactly 5 cards in
3NT = Game values for 4H or 3NT, exactly 5 cards in
3H = Invitational to 4H, 6 or more cards in your suit.
4H = Game values, 6 or more cards in your suit.
New suit = Forcing to game, showing a second suit.
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:
Pass with a minimum opening (15 pts.) and 2-card support for partner's
Bid 3H with 15 pts. and 3-card support.
Bid 3NT with 16-17 pts. and 2-card support.
Bid 4H with 16-17 pts. and 3-card support.
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:
Pass with a weak hand (0-4 pts.);
Raise to 4 of the major with game values (4-5+ pts.) and a 6+-card suit;
Rebid 3NT with game values and a 5-card suit; or
Bid a new suit to show a strong, two-suited hand.
© Karen Walker