Jacoby Transfer in Bridge 

“Transfers” otherwise known as Jacoby Transfers, is a Bridge convention when you (as responder after your partner’s No Trump opening bid) request that opener bids the suit ranked the next suit higher than the suit just bid by you.

When To Use Jacoby Transfer Bids

The purpose of Jacoby Transfers in Bridge is to have the strong hand be declarer and therefore have their hand concealed from view. The  bid is artificial and if you and partner have agreed to play transfers your partner must not pass the transfer bid whatever their holding in the suit.
Jacoby Transfers occur after a NoTrump opening bid from partner; partner 1NT  or 2NT. You holding a 5 card suit in either but not both of the major suits make your transfer bid. Since your partner’s 1NT opening promises a balanced hand it will have at least two cards in your desired suit.

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Examples of Jacoby Transfer Bids

Partner opens 1NT:
1. You bid 2 diamonds – signalling partner that their next bid must be the heart suit suit – i.e.the next highest ranked suit up from diamonds.
2. If you bid 2 hearts, this signals  partner that their next bid must be the spade suit.

Traditionally before playing transfers in bridge, responder holding a 5-card major suit you’d bid two, three or four of that suit depending on your strength.

Opening Bid  Responders Transfer  Openers Rebid

*Note:Opener can super accept the transfer by bidding three of the major suit  if they have  a maximum hand with a fit.

A Disadvantage of Playing Jacoby Transfers

The disadvantage of transfers is the loss of the ability to make a  weak take out into 2♦ after a 1NT opening.

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Jacoby Transfers following a double

Following a double (i.e. partner opens 1NT and intervening opponent doubles), there are two options:
1.  Jacoby Transfers and Stayman become inoperative and all 2-level bids are for take-out. This has the advantage of simplicity.
2. Alternatively, after a takeout double all Transfers and Stayman systems are on – known as ‘systems on’.

Transfers following an intervening bid

Standard bidding in most systems (eg. Acol and SAYC) is that all responses following a natural suit overcall are themselves natural bids (“double” may be used for take-out).
An alternative is that such responses, including ‘double’ (X), are included as transfers. For example, following a 1NT opening and the opponents make a 2♦ overcall:

double = transfer to hearts
2♥ = transfer to spades
2♠ = transfer to clubs

Playing transfers with all the various options is something you should discuss with your partner in advance.

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