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Transfer Trauma

Jacoby and Texas transfer bids have become the system of choice for the great majority of tournament players. Besides making the stronger hand declarer, these bids provide a superior follow-up structure. The Texas transfer (unlike Jacoby by normal agreements) can also be used in competition, as illustrated by this deal from a recent team match.

4 H by South

E-W Vul
S 8 4
H A K Q 10 9
D 4 3
C 10 9 7 6
S K Q J 9 6 2
H 5
D Q 10 9
C K 3 2
TableS 10
H 8 7 6 3
D K 7 6 5 2
C 8 5 4
Lead: S KS A 7 5 3
H J 4 2
D A J 8
C A Q J

West

2 S
All Pass
North

4 D
East

Pass
South
1 NT
4 H

North’s jump to 4 D forced South to become declarer in 4 H. Normally, the Texas transfer shows at least six cards, but North took exception with his powerful five-carder — good judgment in my view.

So far, so good, but the trauma arose in the play. Declarer won the spade lead and drew two rounds of trumps, discovering the 4-1 break. Next came a club finesse, losing to the king. West cashed the S Q and continued spades, forcing dummy to ruff as East discarded his remaining clubs. Declarer was now history. If he drew trumps, he could never enjoy North’s long club; and if tried to unblock the clubs first, East would get a ruff. Too bad.

Careful play could have ensured success. Declarer should draw all of East’s trumps (South discarding a spade) then play the C A and another club, taken by the king. West does best to continue leading spades, but declarer does not ruff the third spade, instead pitching a diamond from dummy. On the fourth spade, dummy ruffs, and declarer jettisons his blocking club on the same trick. The C 10-9 are then clear to cash, and the D A takes the last trick.

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© 2000 Richard Pavlicek