Don’t transfer to poor suit for partial!

When your partner opens 1NT and you have a poor 5 card major with weak hand & distributed strength, you will do well to play in 1NT rather than 2 of your major.

Here is a deal where an experienced player transferred to his poor suit, that led to an interesting ending & defeat.

With East holding J9754, Q3, 62, K1042 the uncontested auction went, 1NT by West – 2H – 2S – All Pass.  J was led.

Here is the complete hand:


 Declarer, an expert, was staring at   ruff in addition to two trumps & three red suit loosers. Hence he won in dummy & went after setting up discards by playing  Q from dummy.

South won, cashed  A & K and played back a  . Declarer won, discarded two  s from dummy on   &   winners. Now he played  2 to  8,  9 &  Q. South could see 5th trick in  A. Setting trick could come only from trumps. So he played a third   & North upper-cut with his  10, dislodging  J from dummy.

 4 went to  3,  K,  A. And now  from North promoted  6 over 75 in dummy.

Had East passed 1NT, West would have made it without breathing hard. But even an expert couldn’t do anything with that poor trump suit.


3 thoughts on “Don’t transfer to poor suit for partial!

  • Profile gravatar of Rohit gupta
    July 8, 2017 at 7:19 AM

    Always? Poor trumps in a poor hand like to be trumps so they can ruff is the adage I have heard. Though this particular hand is not exactly weak opposite a strong NT opening. Yes there’s not much in the way of ruffing value. What is your treatment if lets say we take away the HQ and replace it with HX? Or take away both the HQ and CK and replace those with Xes 🙂

    Caveat: My standing way below your league.

  • July 9, 2017 at 8:27 PM

    It is more important to look at the various things one should consider, while transferring. Though, the quality of the trump suit is an important consideration, there are other aspects of the hand that might take precedence. Like I had mentioned in an earlier post (, one has to estimate the approximate location of the buried treasure, and develop a bidding strategy based on that estimate.

    First, when should you transfer with a weak suit on a sign-off hand? Answer: When there is chance of Game in case of a super-fit. Example: xx xxxxx AKxx xx. The hand is reasonably strong that, even in the absence of a super-fit, you have a reasonable chance of going plus in 2H. But in case of a super-fit, Game seems like a good bet.

    There are also cases when it might be better not to transfer to good suits with weak hands. For example, x QJ10xxx xxx xxx, non-vul. Opponents surely rate to have a partial at least, higher than 2H. So going down a few in 1NT non-vul is not so bad. What is bad is that in your attempt to get to 2H, you might give them the opportunity to exchange enough information to get to an unbeatable 4S. Your transfer will give an additional option (dbl), and an addition turn for bidding to both opponents. Don’t do that just to get to 2H which will be the final contract only when it suits your opponents!

    There are other such situations, even more out of the ordinary, that you may have to consider based on you table presence!

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