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Double For Takeout, Then More Transfers

Partner and I play transfer responses to our 1 opener. When asked for a 'defense' we suggest they double our bid to show that suit, and to bid our suit as a takeout double. So here (1) P (1 = h), then X = diamonds and 1 = takeout of clubs and hearts. That method is reasonably intuitive (the double part anyway) and is what most opponents pull out of their hats as a meta-rule when they don't want our opinion.  

My dictionary tells me the opposite of 'preemptive' is 'permissive'. A preempt reduces bidding space for the opponents. A permissive bid creates bidding space for the opponents, something you would rather not do. Transfer bids are permissive --- in our example above, the opponents get to cheaply show diamonds at the one level, not achievable in a standard auction.

However the simple meta-rule described above ... double to show the bid, bid the opponent's suit as takeout ... does not fully capitalize on the additional space. The permissive transfer has given you room to build a transfer ladder,  so why not take advantage? Here (1) P (1 = h), then:

  • X = takeout of clubs and hearts
  • 1 = transfer to spades
  • 1 = whatever 2 would mean in standard
  • 1NT = normal (skips transfer ladder due to some positional value) 
  • 2 = transfer to diamonds
  • higher = normal preempts, or transfer preempts

Compared to the original meta-rule, the new rule double for takeout, then more transfers, gains transfers in spades and diamonds while losing the ability to show diamonds cheaply. Transfer fans will agree that's a very good tradeoff, and will thank the opponents for using 21st century methods.

How does the new meta-rule work in other transfer positions? Say the opponents play transfers here (1) X (2), where 2 is a constructive heart raise. The transfer advances are:

  • X = takeout, here 'responsive'
  • 2 = transfer to spades (4+, unlimited strength)
  • 2 = transfer to clubs (unlimited)
  • 2NT = normal
  • higher = partnership agreement, maybe 3 and 3 are preemptive

What about a transfer preempt of 3 showing spades? The ACBL defensive database suggests X = 14+, cuebid = takeout, others natural. Our new meta-rule produces X = takeout, 3NT = normal, others = transfers. If they were using two-under transfers, where 3 shows spades, then X = takeout, 3 = transfer cuebid = takeout, 3 = clubs, 3NT = normal, higher = transfers.

I'm no GCC expert, but it seems to me these transfer defenses are allowed under COMPETITIVE (7) DEFENCE TO (a) conventional calls, assuming the opp's transfer bids are considered to be 'conventional'.

P.S. Treating 2 Flannery as 'permissive' might be whimsical, but the new meta-rule produces this defence: X = takeout = mm, 2 = spades, 2 = clubs, 2NT = natural, 3 = diamonds, which isn't the dumbest system ever.

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