Should I Transfer (with a minor)?


Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 04/02/2017
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

In this article, we assume partner opened 1NT (15-17).

As responder, with a five-card (or longer) MAJOR, I recommend always transferring. See this article.

But, with a five-card (or longer) minor, it is a completely different ballgame.

With the major, transferring allows you to play on the two-level. But, with a minor, a transfer puts you on the three level. Why would you want to play in 3♠ instead of 1NT if you held, say: 

♠ Q6  
♥ J76  
♦ 765  
♣ Q8765?
 

Just because you can transfer to a minor, doesn't mean you should transfer to the minor.

What if you held:

♠ KJ 
♥ 542 
♦ AQ875  
♣ Q54?

Why bother showing the diamonds? You want to be in 3NT, so bid 3NT.

Just because you can transfer to a minor, doesn't mean you should transfer to the minor.

Even with a six-card minor, why show it if you want to be in 3NT no matter what? Raise 1NT to 3NT with:

♠ J4  
♥ J3 
♦ K32  
♣ KQJ765.

Just because you can transfer to a minor, doesn't mean you should transfer to the minor.

Why is this different from the handling of a five-plus card major? Because minors pay only 20 points a trick. To bid game in a minor, you need to be on the five level! When partner opens 1NT, I'd guess that five-of-a-minor is the right contract less than 2% of the time. If there is a game, it is "always" in 3NT or a major.


If you have a four-card major and a longer minor, you can start with Stayman and then show the minor. For example, responder to 1NT has:

♠ Q832  
♥ -- 
♦ J76 
♣ AQ8652.
He starts with 2♠. If partner bids spades, life is easy (raise to game). If partner doesn't bid 2♠, then the minor can be shown--3♠ (assuming the partnership plays this as forcing). In this case, responder doesn't want to insist on 3NT.  But, with flat hands (as in the earlier examples), responder should insist on notrump instead of looking for greener pastures.


 

When would you transfer?

When would responder actually start with a transfer to a minor? (As to which system and how, you can read this article).

♠ 54  
♥ 32  
♦ 65  
♣ AKJ9765
--you are always going to play in 3NT, so just bid it!

♠ --  
♥ J6  
♦ Q1076  
♣ AKJ7654
 or
♠ K42  
♥ 5  
♦ AJ9654  
♣ A93.

 

SUMMARY

If you have no interest in playing in the minor, then don't transfer!  If you might end up with your minor as the trump suit, then show it. It is as simple as that. Just because you can transfer to a minor, doesn't mean you should transfer to the minor.

QUIZ

Click here to take quiz.