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APR_08_EB_p19 Bakhshi 14/3/08 4:28 pm Page 19

The 2♠ response


to a 1NT opening

Send your questions to the Editor, or e-mail

David Bakhshi directly at

MICHAEL Gwilliam writes by e-mail: 2. 2♠ = Invitational raise to 2NT or

When responding to an opening bid of 1NT, balanced hand with slam interest.

it seems easy enough to locate major-suit fits, Opener is expected to bid 2NT with a

but often a 4-4 minor-suit fit can be missed. minimum hand, or bid his cheapest

In your view, what are the most useful four-card (or longer) suit with a David Bakhshi

conventions that aid this process without maximum.

losing the benefit of Stayman and Transfers? Over 2NT, responder passes with an

invitational hand, and either raises hand for clubs. Responder either

Dear Michael, to 3NT or bids his cheapest four- intends to play in 3♣ or bid beyond

While most partnerships that agree to card (or longer) suit with a slam- 3♣ with stronger hands (again it is a

use transfers play that a 2 ♦ response interested hand. If opener shows a matter for partnership agreement

shows at least five hearts, and a 2 ♥ maximum hand, then responder bids which hands go via a transfer and

response shows at least five spades, there 3NT with a hand that was originally when responder bids a suit directly at

are several meanings that one might invitational to game, or explores for the three level). Using this method, a

attach to a 2♠ response. The meaning slam with a stronger hand. 2NT response is a transfer to dia-

chosen tends to vary depending on whether Since 2NT is no longer needed as an monds. As with the 2♠ response, op-

the partnership prefers to focus on dealing invitational raise, it is now used to ener either bids 3♣ or 3♦ depending

with long minor suits, or the more show a weak hand with a long minor. on his diamond holding There is a

balanced hand types where 4-4 minor fits Opener is expected to bid 3♣, which slight advantage to bidding 3♣ with a

may need to be located. the responder either passes or con- negative diamond holding as res-

These are the most common treatments verts to 3♦. ponder can now pass when holding a

in this country at tournament level: This method allows for exploration weak hand with at least five cards in

of minor-suit slams with relatively both clubs and diamonds.

1. 2♠ = Weakness take-out to a minor. balanced hands, but also fails to The advantage of playing transfers

Responder’s 2♠ asks opener to bid enable responder to invite game with to each minor is that the responder

3♣. Responder plans to pass with a a long minor. can sign-off with a weak hand, invite

weak hand with clubs, or bid 3♦ with game, or explore for slam when

a weak hand with diamonds. 3. 2♠ = Transfer to clubs. holding a long minor suit. The main

This method has the advantage of Perhaps the most popular treatment disadvantage, however, is the loss of a

simplicity, and also allows the part- among experts involves the use of natural raise to 2NT.

nership to retain a natural invitational ‘four-suit transfers’. The corollary to this affects the use

raise to 2NT. The main disadvantage A 2♠ response is used to show of Stayman, as invitational hands

is the inability to invite game when clubs, after which the partnership can without a major still have to go via

holding a hand with a long minor, agree that opener either bids 2NT or 2♣. This is what is meant by the ex-

e.g. ♠ x ♥ K x x ♦ A Q J x x x ♣ x x x. 3♣ to show a positive or negative pression ‘non-promissory’ Stayman.

Should your partnership wish to

adopt four-suit transfers, then, for

simplicity, I would recommend that

NATIONAL MEN’S AND WOMEN’S PAIRS WINNERS you agree that responder uses a 2♠

or 2NT response with hands that

wish to sign-off or invite game, and

also with slam-interested hands con-

taining a second suit, while a direct

jump to 3♣ or 3♦ is retained for

Photo: EBU

Photo: EBU

single-suited hands with slam interest.

Hands that are only interested in

playing in the best game can go via

Congratulations to Richard Johnson and Nick Boss, and Tracy Capal and Stayman and then follow up with a

Kath Nelson (in the picture with EBU Chairman Peter Stocken). bid of 3♣ or 3♦ over opener’s

response. April 2008 English Bridge 19


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