After a natural NT opening, using Jacoby transfers to the majors is a near-universal convention. Conventions for extending this to minor suits are called minor suit transfers, but there are very different variations. In all cases, for single-suited transfers, at least 6 cards in a minor is needed, and if the hand is not weak, denies a 4-card major.
Four-way transfer Edit
Opener rebids the minor to complete the transfer, which responder can pass to sign off, or bid to indicate further interest. However, if opener rebids the bid between the transfer and the minor, he super-accepts and indicates at least 3-card support and an honour inside. (Some chooses using the intermediate bid to reject the transfer instead.)
2NT can also be used holding a weak hand and 5-5 in the majors, which the responder passes any rebids.
However, using this method, 1NT-2NT is no longer natural. To make a balanced invite, responder has to bid 2♣ first even without holding a four-card major, and the sequence 1NT-2♣-2♥-2♠ shows 4 ♠s only, which wrong-sides any ♠ contract, and reveals much more information to the opponents to select the best lead when the final contract is NT.
Minor suit bust transfer Edit
This is the version used in Standard American Yellow Card, which a 2♠ response to 1NT shows a weak hand in either minor. After 1NT-2♠, opener automatically rebids 3♣, which responder can pass or correct to 3♦.
Minor suit Stayman Edit
Main article: Minor suit Stayman Transfer bids when combined with minor suit Stayman can be used in various ways:
- 1NT-2♠ always shows ♦s; 1NT-2NT shows ♣s but not ♦s.
- 1NT-2♠ always shows both minors;
A word of caution Edit
While minor suit transfers are quite useful for showing one-suited hands, it also gives opponents extra information in selecting the correct lead. If 3NT is likely the best contract and if the responder's hand contains tenaces in the long suit, it may be better to bid 3NT directly. For example,
|♦||K J 8 7 5 4|
|♣||A 6 3|
Here it is best to respond 1NT-3NT, rather than transferring to diamonds, giving the opponents extra information, and then ending up in 3NT anyway. Thus, minor suit transfers are best used with either weak hands or else strong game-forcing hands with either freakish distribution or at least mild slam interest.