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As a relative beginner to Bridge I find the excellent articles by Bernard Magee very helpful with good practical examples. I would just like to ask a question on Transfers which is used by most people in my local duplicate Bridge club but is new to me:

What do I respond when my partner has opened 1NT (weak 12-14) and I have a very good 5-6 card Diamond suit but no 5 card majors and say 11 HCP? Also same question if the best suit was Clubs instead of Diamonds? Lets assume I have only a 2 or 3 card major suits so can't use Stayman.

If we agreed on using Transfers I can't suddenly revert to weak take out when I don't have a 5 card major  which is what I am using at the moment for responding to 1NT


  • edited 12:39AM

    If you are currently using a weak take-out for 11 point hands, then you are probably too strong.

    11 points with a five-card suit suggests the values to invite game. If you have a five-card minor then you are usually best to invite game in no trumps - bid 2NT. If you have a six-card suit you will often find that no trumps still plays better. A hand shape such as 6322 is semi-balanced and 3NT is likely to offer a better likelihood of game than 5C/D. With such a hand and an 11 count, I would tend to look at the suit quality. With a good suit, that is likely to run with just a little help from partner, I will often bid 3NT immediately rather than inviting game.

    Things are more difficult if you have a less balanced hand (say a 6+ card suit and a singleton or void). The 3C/3D responses are traditionally forcing to game in Acol so you can't show an invitational strength hand with a minor. Modern bidding systems tend to be geared towards finding a major suit or no trump game, with game in the minors a lower priority. With a good suit you might still gamble 3NT.

    Some players at your club might play four suit transfers (2S transfer to clubs / 2NT transfer to diamonds). This does allow some additional possibilities, but also needs quite a bit more discussion and agreement with your partner. If you are new to transfers then this is probably a step that can wait until you are more experienced.

    If you are weaker than 11 points, then your priority is to find a safe place to play. Use transfers if holding a five card major, but you can't play in a minor suit below the three level. It is often best to pass 1NT since 7 tricks can often be easier than 9 tricks. With a very long minor suit (7+ cards or 6 in a very unbalanced hand) there are various methods to play in the minor and you need to agree your method with partner. One simple method is to play a bid of 2S asks partner to bid 3C and you can either pass (with clubs) or bid 3D (with diamonds). [There are other methods and there is not a single agreed method].

  • edited 12:39AM
    Thanks tramticket for your suggestions which I will put to my partner. I will then try it out in at our next club game and see how we get on. All I wanted to do was know what to bid when I don't have 4 or 5 card majors but with sufficient strength to go to the 2 level. Currently I have been bidding 2NT when I have 11-12 points with 5 card minor or balanced hand, and 2D,2H or 2S when I have 6-10 points and a five card suit ie "the weak takeout". This is the system described in  Leigh Harding's "No Fear Bridge" beginners book on ACOL bidding although he doesn't refer to it as the weak takeout.
  • edited 12:39AM

    Note that a weakness takeout can be made on any weak hand - there is no minimum (so your 6-10 is incorrect). With zero points and an unbalanced hand, you are probably best to play in your longest suit if you can do so at the two level. Similarly, if you start playing transfers, there is no minimum.

    I am not aware of the book that you describe, but I would be very surprised if it recommends a 6-10 range.

  • edited 12:39AM
    If i play four card transfers how do i let my partner know when i have a balanced 11-12 points? because that bid would now be taken i.e. transfer 2NT = 3 diamonds!
  • edited 12:39AM
    Colleen, there are various possibilities, but most players, who use transfers in four suits, show a balanced 11/12 by bidding 2C Stayman and following up with a 2NT bid over any response.

    Note that if you use this approach, your Stayman doesn't promise a four-card major. You should describe this as "Non-promissary Stayman" on your convention card, and tell opponents if asked. You don't need to change your Stayman announcement or alert (in England - I'm not sure about other jurisdictions).
  • edited 12:39AM
    Thanks Tramticket, As you have probably gathered i am fairly new to bridge and completely new to this site, i have posted this question in three different places, but thanks very much for answering, so when we call 2c does my partner or i announce "Non-promissary Stayman"?
  • edited 12:39AM

    You only need to announce "Stayman" - but should describe it as "Non-promissory Stayman" if asked by an opponent.

    Blue Book 4.E.2: "...  Stayman is announced whether or not it shows a four card major"

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