MIke's Advice


When Your Jacoby Transfer Bid is Doubled, What Do Your Partner’s Bids Mean?

Most players discuss their convention card and when it gets around to discussing Jacoby transfers, the exchange often goes like this:
“Do you want to play Jacoby transfers?”
That’s it. Discussion ended. So you get to the table and on Board 9, your partner bids 1NT, which you announce as showing 15-17 points. East passes and you note you have five hearts. You bid 2, asking partner to bid 2. So far, so good.
Your LHO doubles 2, showing good diamonds and expressing that he wants his partner to lead diamonds if he ends up on opening lead.
Now come the questions. Since there are more than one or two possible answers, what follows can be considered as something for you to think about.
This article offers a few odds and ends that you should consider adding to your agreements.
Here are five simple questions. In all of these auctions, you are South. What does North’s last bid mean to you?

  1. West North East South
    1NT Pass 2
    Dbl Pass
    What does it mean if partner passes the double?
    I suggest that when your transfer bid is doubled and your partner passes, you should expect him to have a doubleton heart. His pass says nothing about liking or hating diamonds, the suit you used as your transfer bid. Forget about playing in a diamond contract.
    In a later article, I will show you how you should bid when your partner passes after the double of your transfer bid.
    For now, just be aware that your partner has only two of your major.
  2. West North East South
    1NT Pass 2
    Dbl 2
    What does it mean if partner bids the major?
    When partner bids the requested major, he is showing at least three cards in the suit and an ordinary hand for hearts. If he has a maximum hand he has ways to show that.
  3. West North East South
    1NT Pass 2
    Dbl Redbl
    What does it mean if partner redoubles?
    When your partner redoubles, he shows a good hand with three hearts or a respectable hand with four of them. He says nothing about diamonds. These two hands qualify for a redouble:
    ♠ A 7
    Q J 8
    9 7 6 4
    ♣ A K Q 7
    ♠ Q J 7 4
    J 10 7 5
    A 8
    ♣ A Q J
  4. West North East South
    1NT Pass 2
    Dbl 2NT
    What does it mean if partner bids 2NT?
    I mentioned this bid because some players have a meaning for 2NT. I suggest you skip this bid.
  5. West North East South
    1NT Pass 2
    Dbl 3
    What does it mean if partner jumps to three of the major
    A jump to three of the trump suit shows the best possible hand. Partner has four trumps, some shape, and good high card values.
    Here are three hands showing assorted good hands partner might have.
    ♠ AJ5
    ♣ A94
    This hand has everything but good shape. Your partner will redouble with this hand to show a good hand with three or four trumps.
    ♠ AK
    ♣ J1043
    This hand has only three hearts. Your partner will redouble with this.
    ♠ 85
    ♣ AQJ4
    Finally, this is a 3 bid. Good hearts, some distribution, and all working high card points.

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