Most of you know what a Jacoby Transfer is:
The 2♦ bid requests Partner to bid 2♥, after which you may Pass (showing a weak hand), or you may bid on with a better hand. In all cases, the 2♦ bidder has at least 5 Hearts.
How about this hand? ♠ 7
If Partner opens 1NT, you could consider transferring to Hearts with 2♦, and then raising to 4♥. The problem with this approach is that it makes it easy for the opponents to get into the auction, probably in Spades. Let’s face it, as soon as Partner opened 1NT you knew for sure that you wanted to play this in 4♥. So, why not get there as quickly as possible. That’s where the Texas Transfer comes in useful … it gets you immediately to where you want to be … and it lets the strong hand be Declarer.
You Partner You
Holding the hand given above, we still transfer, but we do it at the 4-level instead, going directly to where we belong. What kind of hand is suitable for a Texas transfer?
(a) As you are insisting on your major as the trump suit, you need at least 6 cards in that major … the 1NT bidder can be counted on for at least two, which is enough for an 8-card fit.
(b) As you are going to game, you need enough to make game! Duh! Probably a good 7 or thereabouts will usually give Partner a shot at making the contract.
(c) As you are not going to slam (and as Partner is precluded from doing anything other than accepting the transfer), you must not have too much.
♠ 72 ♥ KQJ76 ♦
♠ 7 ♥ KQT765 ♦
Q762 ♣ 98
♠ 72 ♥ KQT765
♦ Q76 ♣ 98
♠ 7 ♥ KQT765 ♦
AK7 ♣ Q86
No Trump Auctions
Jacobyites are familiar with these three auctions:
A. 1NT 2♥
B. 1NT 2♥
C. 1NT 2♥
These auctions all show 5 Spades and form a natural progression. A shows invitational values (typically a good 7 to a bad 9), B is enough for game but no more (most 9’s up to around 15), and C is invitational to slam (around 16+).
That leads us to these auctions:
D. 1NT 4♥
E. 1NT 2♥
Clearly, we don’t D to show a slam invitational hand (we have Auction C above for that), so it makes more sense for this to be used as your preferred method of Blackwood. Having said that, it makes even more sense to use E as Blackwood, that way you have a chance of staying at the 4-level if you don’t get a sufficient number of controls from Partner.
Now, try these three auctions:
Pard Opp You
F 1NT 2♠ 4♦
G 1NT 3♣ 4♦
H 1NT 3♦ 4♦
Yes, Texas is still on in competition, but only up to a certain point. F is a Texas auction. And, so is G, but that is as high as we go … if they interfere above 3♣, then Texas is off. You can see why this should be so by looking at Auction H. Now, it is better to have 4♦ available as “pick-a-major”. So, if they interfere above 3♣, transfers are off, and the bidding is natural.
A Slam Try
Compare these two auctions:
We noted earlier that I is used to show a hand that just wants to play in game. Do we really need J for the same purpose? No, of course not, so most players use the second sequence as a mild slam try. For example:
♠ K74 ♠ AQJ652
We open 1NT, and find ourselves in Auction J. Partner is making a slam try. Do we accept? This is not a time for counting our minimum number of points (15), and saying “No”. We have a very fine 15 indeed, definitely worth accepting on this one. How good is the slam? Pretty good … ten top tricks, plus a Diamond ruff in the short hand makes 11 … they may give us the 12th trick on the opening lead (defenders often lay down Aces against slams, not a good idea on this particular hand) … or the Q♥ may get ruffed out … and, if all else fails, we can always lead towards the K♣, hoping that the A♣ is onside. So, the slam has lots of practical chances.
Let’s tweak Opener’s hand a little:
♠ K2 ♠ AQJ652
If we opened 1NT and Partner were to invite us to some game or other, we would accept with great alacrity with our maximum 17. But Partner is not inviting us to game, he is inviting us to slam in Spades, and for that our hand is only so-so. We have only two Spades, no ruffing value, and 6 of our points are Queens and Jacks. True, we do have two Aces, and the King of trumps, but if those key cards were all that Partner needed, he should have used (Roman Key Card) Blackwood to find out about them. No, this is a hand that should say “No!”. Even if the opponents don’t get their Clubs on the go, the slam is still no better than 50% to make.
After Two No Trump Openings
Partner opens 2NT, we can still play Texas, pretty much by the same
rules as above.
© BES, Inc
All Rights Reserved
|Home PlayArchives BiddingArchives Conventions|