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Minor suit transfers (and Stayman)

#1 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2019-May-01, 00:17

Hi everyone

Minor suit transfers and stayman are fairly new to me (since I started playing BBO tourneys and all the conventions "thrown in" to GiBs convention card) and of course don't occur very frequently due to their different requirements and approach to major suit stayman and transfers. However on a few occasions after a minor transfer I have missed an excellent chance of 3NT due to either 1) underestimation by responder of potential of their hand or 2) a decision by me not to ignore the transfer and bid 3NT with a good fitting NT opener. Following recent discussions on alternatives to regular accepts of Jacoby transfers, is there more latitude in minor transfers for opener to push for game if they have a top 17pt NT and a good looking fit for the 6 clubs

Here are two example openeing hands (one of which I played and was unfortunately passed by responder). I considered a 3NT bid which would have made easily in this case (I will show responders hand later). I know this one is risky in spades and it really requires responder to decide but I have given a second slightly modified hand


The first only has 16 points with vulnerable spades so I believe it was right to accept the 3C transfer despite the excellent club fit



The second I have given 17 points, the same club fit and better stops in spades. I cant find any guidelines on the concept of a 3NT superaccept for minor transfers



Or ... is it always up to responder and you have to live with missing out. Also how many people actually play minor suit stayman and transfers. As I say they are fairly new to me and dont occur very often. or..... with the second hand would you consider not opening 1NT

regards P
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#2 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2019-May-01, 00:48

For minor suit transfers, there are multiple ways to play, whether there is a super-accept available or reasonable depends on which flavor you play.

In the most common expert style these days, with 4-suit transfers, 2 SPADES transfers to clubs (sometimes played as range ask or clubs but this prevents super-accepting based on club holding rather than just min/max), 2 NOTRUMP transfers to diamonds. In this scheme you have an in-between step, which can be utilized to either show a super-accept or deny a super-accept. Then after responder can sign off (passing or correcting as appropriate), bid 3nt, or make a slam try.

But this is not universal, and is *not* how the robots play if you are playing their style. Robots use *one under* transfers with NT->C and 3c->3d. When using one under transfers, traditionally opener cannot super-accept, because responder will want to transfer with some really weak hands and 3nt will be hopeless and 4m has less chance of making than 3m or will go down more. If playing this style, responder should only transfer if weak or strong. With an invitational range hand, they should just invite in NT (going through stayman, which doesn't promise a major). 1nt-2s, in such schemes, is typically deployed as minor-suit stayman.


It's possible to fit in invitational minors via other sequences, e.g. "walsh relay" 1nt-2d-2h-2s as an artificial call, depending on how you play other agreements (1nt, jump to 3d/h/s), but extremely few people even know about this option. Or one could give up MSS and put them into 1nt-2s.


In a human partnership I'd recommend just using the two-under transfers so you can do what most people are doing.
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#3 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2019-May-01, 02:29

Thx Stephen

regards P
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#4 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2019-May-01, 04:32

I think the transfer is best compulsory, because responder can be extremely weak, or not, and opener has no idea. One-under transfers are best for this because opener plays the hand, and this is very important when you want to play in 3m regardless. If you play 2-under, then the hand is played the wrong way when opener bids m-1.

If you combine this with minor suit stayman, you have the best of both worlds. I use 2 MSS either with the classic both minors that can take either (not necessarily weak), or a hand when opener might have only one minor but is looking for good support, such as 3 cards with some honours, or 4 cards, or whatever you might superaccept on if you played that. Opener bids such a minor if he has one, NT without. If he bids your minor you can then look for slam or game; if he doesn't you play in game or partscore. If he bids clubs when you have only diamonds, he might also have diamonds, so you can agree a sequence to ask if you have a hand than can escape when he doesn't.
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#5 User is offline   HardVector 

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Posted 2019-May-01, 20:33

I'd like to add one thing to Stephen's post, which I completely agree with. If you should choose NOT to do 4 suit transfers, typically 3c/3d are used to show game invitational hands with 6+ cards in the suit. With game forcing/slammish hands, you start with Stayman, then after whatever opener bids, you bid 3c/3d to show game forcing hands with 6+ cards in the minor you bid. That allows you to use 2s as a transfer to clubs with a correction to diamonds with weak hands.

This is not the ideal method of bidding. 4 suit transfers are superior if you understand all the nuances. This method has the advantage of simplicity.
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