perjantai 1. huhtikuuta 2011

Transfers all around

Now-a-days bridge is all about transfers. I bet Jacoby didn't have the slightest idea where his simple thought would lead us. Transfers have many advantages like right-siding, saving bidding space, compressing multiple bids, especially the non-forcing one. Let's see in what kind of auctions you usually use transfers.

1. First and foremost, over natural NT openings. This is about as common as stayman these days.
2. When someone bids over your 1NT, rubensohl variants. These also work in other sequences like 1m (2M).
3. Over 1C opening, transfer walsh. Some even try it over Polish club but I'm not sure where it has developed as it gets very complicated.
4. Advancing an overcall, Ruben's advances, usually starting from the opening suit advancers bids are transfers.
5. Openings, everybody loves Moscito, right?
6. In response to strong club opening and in relays. (These are almost purely for right-siding purposes)
7. 2/1 responses, some are trying out the gains from 1S-2D being a transfer for getting more heart hands in. Diamonds isn't really a suit anyways, is it?
8. Numerous situations in competition. These are very unique but for some of the common ones: 1m (1H) X being a transfer to spades. (4+ instead of usual 4) 1D (X) XX+, using the transfer walsh theme.
9. Over precision 2C opening.
10. One of the newest ideas, opener's rebids. I'll be writing about these a lot more later, as I'm playing them.

That isn't quite all, but it covers most of the ground. Some of these are more pure as transfers than others. By being pure, I mean that the transfer is most of the time accepted. This is what the transfers usually try to do, because that is exactly when they save a lot of room and let you unwind your hand. Some of them aren't exactly transfers at all, even though they look like it. Let's go through them step by step.

1. This is about as pure as transfer can get. Whole point is that NT opener is quite strictly defined, and thus it has to just accept the transfer without super fit. This lets responder show various shapes and strengths. Some even continue with second round of transfers to fit in even more stuff. This becomes essentially a relay system where the balanced hand is just asking questions. He didn't initiate it, but somehow partner just forced him to know all this stuff to make good decisions.
2. Here we have two often used variants. Other has the transfer invite+, and other has it either weak or GF. Now the latter is much more pure as a transfer. Opener can't break it unless he has some huge fit. So again responder gets to show many shapes when game forcing. The former isn't quite so pure. Here the responder doesn't actually want the opener to bid the suit, he is more like asking a question. Do we want to be in a game now that you know I have this suit and invitational strength. Thus opener has to break the relay when not minimum. This means that responder can't show his hand as accurately when GF but he does get more information about opener's hand.
3. This is again quite pure transfer situation. Depending a bit on the variation, opener is expected to accept the transfer with all the weak NT hands, or all hands with 3 card support. Whichever it is, it happens often and responder has easy time again describing his hand.
4. These are one of my favorites. They work much like rubensohl (inv+ variation) but because overcaller's range is wide and he tends to be in the lower side of that range, he will accept the transfer more often. Transfers here don't actually show and invitation, they are more like constructive+ and good invites will bid again. Thus the overcaller is quite safe just accepting it.
5. These aren't actually transfers at all, and I have no idea what's the fuzz about banning them. When you open a moscito style transfer opening, you don't really expect responder to accept the transfer. Actually that is usually invite+ relay. Funny it turns to work just the same as in NT structure when the transfer is accepted, but that is because responder had some strength you didn't actually assume he had. Here the transfer pretty much just right-sided the contract and saved one step. (One step is a lot in relay structure) However I have played systems where the openings are more pure transfers. Take my magic diamond variant. (Not so magic D anymore) I used 1D/H openings to show the usual magic major openings, 8-11, 4+ unbal, or 17+ the same thing. Now the point was that most of the hands would just leave the train at 1M and try to win it there. (Never happened) This left opener huge room to describe his good hand.
6. I already said what these are about. I suggest to check out how Meckwell throws out transfer bids in strangest of auctions to save room for majors. They have this sort of cyclic reorganization of bids in about all the sequences. There's some beauty in it.
7. I will be going to this direction if I start to play 1NT GF relay over major openings. (Now it's 2C and I hate the lack of space) My main use for them will be of course to bail out on two level with weak hand and a long suit, but it can also handle some invites and distributional GFs. I don't think these give you much in a natural context, but when the opening is limited they allow for neat tricks. (Cause the transfer will be accepted almost always)
8. These are mainly just neat tricks that are used in competition that work somewhere else. They usually have some reference in constructive sequences, so you just have to look through them situationally.
9. I'm yet to test this. Quite highly defined opening, transfers might be the way to go. I prefer relay approach for now though.
10. This is bit of an odd bird. You can actually consider gazzilli convention a bit like this. 2C is typically a transfer to 2D, with some hands you break the transfer. In this case they are the weak hands that break the transfer unlike in many others but that doesn't really make a difference. However gazzilli doesn't promise diamonds so it doesn't feel transfer in that sense. I however had in mind a more complex structure taking place after 1D (unbal) opening. Over 1D-1S, every rebid by opener up to 2H is a transfer, promising the higher suit. This opens up a huge number of sequences where opener can show different types of hands. I'll be writing a post just about this structure soon. Now I can just say that these transfers aren't really pure, cause responder has so many different hand types that most of the time he can't just accept the transfer.

That was one lengthy first post. I bet I will come back talking about transfers a lot more in more specific situations. When you find a lack of room in sequences, I'd suggest to always look first for transfers. They can do great many things.

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