One No Trump – Minor Suit Transfers – Part 2
In Part 1 we covered the basics … how to get out in 3 of a minor, how to invite game. Here we consider some other hand types.
Weak Minor Two-Suiters
You hold: ♠ 86
Partner opens 1NT, and is no doubt destined to go down in this contract. We would prefer to play this one in 3 of Opener’s better minor, how do we do that? Simple! We bid 2NT, transferring to Diamonds … if Opener likes Diamonds, he bids 3♦, and that’s where he’ll play it … if Opener does not like Diamonds, he will bid 3♣, and, again that is where he will play it (in the hopeful expectation that surely his Clubs are better than his poor Diamonds).
By the way, when, in Part 1, we said that we prefer the “bid ‘em if you like ‘em” approach, it was the handling of two-suiters that was our deciding factor. Especially for strong two-suiters.
Strong Minor Two-Suiters
You hold: ♠ A6
Partner opens 1NT yet again, and you can visualize a minor suit slam opposite the right hand … and opposite other hands, you’ll no doubt prefer to be in just game, usually the better scoring 3NT. The method for showing this hand type is to bid 2♠, transferring to Clubs, and then to bid 3♦. This is forcing to game, and tells Opener that you are typically 5-5 in the minors with a good hand, often a slammish one. How does Opener proceed?
2NT(or 3♣) 3♦
3NT The 3NT bid says “My hand is major-oriented, and/or I have bad controls, I think 3NT is the place to be”.
2NT(or 3♣) 3♦
3♥ is the lower major, and it shows
interest in the lower
2NT(or 3♣) 3♦
3♠ And 3♠ is “higher for higher”, showing Diamond interest.
A couple of examples and all will become clear:
♠ KQT7 ♠ A6
♥ KQJ ♥ 7
♦ A653 ♦ KQ874
♣ Q6 ♣ KJT52
Here, the auction should go 1NT 2♠, 3♣ 3♦, 3NT Pass. Responder’s 3♦ shows that good minor two-suiter, but Opener is not interested, even though he happens to have a maximum hand with no less than 4-card support for Diamonds. What’s his problem, you ask? Well, look at all those wasted values in the majors! One of those suits will be opposite a singleton (remember that Responder is typically 5-5 in the minors), and the HCPs in that suit will be quite wasted. So, with the majors so unsuitable for slam, 3NT is the obvious bid.
♠ KT74 ♠ A6
♥ AT43 ♥ 7
♦ A65 ♦ KQ874
♣ A9 ♣ KJT52
Here, Opener is weaker in terms of HCPs, and only has 3-card Diamond support … but the hand is much more suitable for slam purposes, and so a good start to the auction would be 1NT 2♠, 3♣ 3♦, 3♠. Remember, that 3♠ bid says nothing about Spades, it merely says “I like Diamonds, perhaps 5♦ or 6♦ is the place to be”. What happens after this start will depend to a large degree on the partnership’s bidding methods, and especially control-asking agreements in minor suit auctions. But, frankly, on this hand it shouldn’t matter too much, Responder can just take it to 6♦ without resorting to too much science … in fact, with a bit of luck in the minors, he will make all 13 tricks.
You hold: ♠ 9
Another hand with slam potential, this one with length in just one of the minors. With this hand-type, Responder transfers to his minor, and then bids 3 of a major. Let’s see how it works:
♠ KQJ5 ♠ 9
♥ KQ6 ♥ A83
♦ QJ9 ♦ K62
♣ KT5 ♣ AQJ764
Here we see the same type of bidding decision that we encountered when Responder showed a good minor two-suiter. As before, Opener is loaded up with useless side-suit cards … he likes Clubs if it’ll help his side get to game … he does not like Clubs if slam is being investigated. A good auction here would be 1NT 2♠, 3♣ 3♥, 3NT Pass. What does 3♥ mean here? We suggest that it simply shows a Heart control (first- or second-round). And 3♠? Denies a Heart control, shows a Spade control.
♠ A853 ♠ 9
♥ QJ6 ♥ A83
♦ AQ93 ♦ K62
♣ K8 ♣ AQJ764
On this deal, a good start would be 1NT 2♠, 3♣ 3♥. Opener is too slammish to suggest 3NT, even though he only has doubleton Club support. 3♠ is indicated here, showing something in Spades and a hand that is prepared to cooperate in a slam-hunt.
An Afterthought on Two-Suiters
Recall that with a weak minor suit 5-5, when we are trying to play it in 3 of a minor, we transfer to Diamonds by bidding 2NT … our plan is to play it in 3♦ if Partner bids 3♦ (saying he likes the suit), and, if he bids 3♣, we playing it there, hoping he likes Clubs more than Diamonds.
Recall, also, that some partnerships prefer to play the “pre-accept” method. After, for example, 1NT 2NT, if Opener likes Diamonds he bids the suit in between, and if he does not like Diamonds he bids 3♦. If this is the treatment being used, then how does Responder get out in 3 of a minor when he has that weak 5-5 hand? One solution is to bid 2♠, transferring to Clubs … if Opener likes Clubs, he’ll bid 2NT, and Responder will sign off in 3♣ … if Opener does not like Clubs, he will bid 3♣, and Responder will sign off in 3♦. That’s all well and good, but now we cannot use Minor Suit Transfers to show a strong minor two-suiter (though, you could use a direct 1NT 3♦ for this). It’s a small theoretical point, perhaps, but this disadvantage to the pre-accept method is why we “bid ‘em if we like ‘em”
For examples of Minor Suit Transfers from actual play, please follow this link to the Archives
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