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Another Batch of Transfers
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I stumbled across a class of transfers that I hadn't seen before. I don't know if the net benefits are positive or negative; transfer methods have pros and cons.

To set this up, here is an example of Rubens Advances.

(Roll mouse over highlighted bid for explanation.)

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Bid meanings are rotated, beginning with the cuebid and ending with the suit under the overcall. Sequences that are 'eligible' for at least one suit transfer include (1) 1 (P), (1) 1 (P), and (1) 1 (P). If the suits 'touch', no transfer is created.

Now, to illustrate this new batch of transfers, stick a bid in front of, say, (1) 1 (P), and the position becomes opener at first rebid looking at 1 (1) 1 (P). What happens via a similar rotation?

Lots happens, and many sequences are 'eligible'. 

Here is the previously noted sequence:

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Sometimes the suit transfer(s) is a lower-ranking new suit, sometimes it is a reverse, and sometimes it is an opening-suit rebid. The 2 suit transfer in this auction happens to be a reverse into hearts, and could be very powerful. For example if you are playing some 2NT Lebensohl/Ingberman treatment, responder now can show three strengths of hand --- the direct acceptance 2 might show a hand responder wishes he had passed originally, 2NT would start a sequence with a middling hand, and a direct 3 would be game-forcing. That added flexibility would let opener loosen up a little on his reverse requirements. Alternatively you could free up 2NT to be natural, and still show two strengths.

How many sequences are there?

Theoretically there are 24 eligible sequences, if you limit the calls to non-jumps, no raises, no cuebids. For the mathematically inclined, that's (4 openers) X (3 overcalls) X (2 responses). However eight of the sequences, with touching suits, will produce zero suit transfers (behaving similar to standard). That leaves eight sequences with two suit transfers, and eight with one transfer.

All will have a designated 'good' raise, tucked underneath partner's suit. I have illustrated the transfer sequences to skip notrump bids because they have positional value (although you could choose to include them).

The first-to-appear sequence follows, which has zero suit transfers because 1 and 1 touch. This is similar to standard.

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This is the last, which has room for transfers for the two suits between 2 and 3:

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Here are a few more.

This layout has transfers to both and .

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Here, zero transfers to suits. This result is similar to 'standard'.

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Two suit transfers, including a rebid transfer.

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Zero suit transfers, similar to standard.

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One suit transfer.

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One suit transfer.

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Two suit transfers.

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The transfer rebids are interesting. Check the transfer rebid 2 next:

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For his 2 bid, opener simply might have minimum unbalanced clubs. However he might also have some strong xx46 and be intending to pattern-out with 3. He might be a strong x3x6 and be intending next to raise hearts. Or he might have nice clubs and be looking to play in notrump but lacks a spade stopper. Using standard methods, those strong holdings are difficult/impossible to cheaply describe. The 2 transfer 'pauses' the auction, freeing up bidding space.

What options does responder have when opener rebids 2? Does it make sense that 3 says 'I would have passed 3', 3 says 'I would have rebid 3 over 3', with anything else a game-force? Partnership would have some work to do to sort these things out.

Transfer reverses have much appeal as well:

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Here, opener's 2 is a reverse into hearts. As mentioned previously, you could play that responder's simple acceptance of the reverse to 2 shows a poor hand (and passable). With a so-so hand he begins a Lebensohl sequence with 2NT, and with a game-forcing hand he jump raises to 3.

 

Does the method make any sense if the overcall is preemptive? Perhaps, but with overcalls two-level and higher, have you noticed it is problematic to ask for a stopper? In this example partnership might want to agree that 3, the first transfer, might here be a stopper-ask, but opener could clarify his next bid.

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The two heart raises would be handy.

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What if the overcall was a takeout double that strongly implied a particular suit? Here you would consider spades to have been bid.

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In the above sequence, if the opening pair is playing transfers over the X, and responder bids 2 to show diamonds, my head is starting to spin wooo wooo.

 

OK just as an aside, what if 2 in the following sequence really did show diamonds? 

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What if responder raises opener? I don't see anything there, but somebody might.

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I've tried to briefly touch on the benefits, some of which seem to be substantial. Do they offset the very real negatives?

There is the obvious recognition/memory issue. Your mantra --- transfers begin with the cuebid, transfers begin with the cuebid.

There is the usual problem with any transfer system --- the opponents can use your transfer bid, that opportunity not possible in a standard auction. For example in this transfer sequence, overcaller has options (X or P) for both the 2 bid and the 3 bid, telling partner something about his hand --- lead my suit, don't lead my suit, I also have clubs.

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Is the most significant defect this? When the overcall is at the two-level, the general-force cuebid below 3NT, is not available because that call is part of the transfer sequence. In this auction played normally, the 3 cuebid would be a general force often asking responder if he has a club stopper. In the transfer version below, 3 is the first transfer, showing diamonds.

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Opener has no stand-alone call to ask for a stopper. Is that fatal? Could you choose to include the general force in, say, the first transfer? Here, 3 would be general force or diamonds. Responder would show a club stopper before he agreed diamonds?

In a different sequence, if the first transfer was a good raise 3, maybe responder wanting to pass a good raise would sign off with 3, otherwise bid 3NT with a stopper, or something else without one?

Alternatively, what if on this auction opener held Jx/AKJxx/KQx/xxx? Perhaps he could show diamonds with 3, then rebid 3 (showing tolerable support?), and responder with a club stop might rebid 3NT. The thing is, opener has options through transfers to 'pause' the auction, giving responder additional chances to describe his hand.

If thought necessary, one obvious corrective would be to limit the treatment to one-level overcalls with overcall not preemptive, guaranteeing a standalone three-level cuebid. There are 12 of those.

There would be considerable work for partnership, beginning with what do I need to accept a transfer (for lower-ranking suit, reverse, suit rebid), and how do we establish a general force?

Maybe I should have made this a poll. With the right protocols in place, is (some of) this treatment a good idea?

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