By Prof Tony Campbell

WE have seen in previous articles that the Jacoby Transfer system after a one no trump opening by partner is very useful in describing precisely a hand.

This system was in fact first described in a series of Swedish articles in the 1950s by Olle Willner. But Oswald Jacoby claimed the right to the name of this system when he described it in an article in The Bridge World, arguing that it was a modification of what has become known in the US as Texas Transfer. Here is a very good example of this.

The Auction

South opened a weak no trump. His partner, North, with five hearts activated the Jacoby transfer by bidding two diamonds. South obediently bid two hearts. Now would you as North go on? Yes, I think so. With eleven points, five\four in hearts and diamonds and a singleton club it must we worth a shot at game.

So North bid three diamonds, showing his diamond suit. South, with a maximum of fourteen points, now knows they his partner is five/four in hearts and diamonds. So, they cannot have any losers in spades or clubs, and with four hearts, South felt game in hearts must have a good chance.

The play

West began by leading the queen of spades. North won this with his ace. Looking at the hand carefully he could see he could discard dummy’s losing spade on the king of clubs, as expected. But he must only lose one heart and two diamonds, or two hearts and one diamond.

He saw he could make an overtrick if the ace of diamonds was held by West. So, South as declarer, played a small heart towards dummy’s ace, followed by a small heart from dummy. Yes! Chance was in declarer’s favour, the hearts were two/two. East, having won with his king of hearts, returned a spade, which declarer won with his king. South then played the ace and king of clubs, discarding dummy’s losing spade on the king.

If the defence had led clubs initially, declarer would have had to discard a spade earlier in the play. But at this point, declarer played a small diamond towards dummy’s king/queen. After some hesitation West played the ace and returned another diamond. Declarer was now home and dry, with the king and queen of diamonds and the rest of the trumps, making eleven tricks: two spades, five hearts, two diamonds, and two clubs. Well bid and well played.

At pairs, overtricks are vital if you want to get a good score. If West plays low on the first diamond, declarer must take care. After winning the trick with the king, he must return to hand with the ten of hearts to lead another diamond, enabling the queen to make as well. A key issue here is how to play the trumps. If East has king, queen and another, the defence will always make two heart tricks. But, with North/South holding both the ten and jack of hearts, it is the best percentage play to play the ace on the first round of trumps, as this will catch a singleton king or queen in the defending hands.

What have we learnt?

1. Jacoby transfers are an essential part of your armoury in modern bridge. There is some controversy about whether they should be called Jacoby transfers, as in the US many players play the strong no trump opening – 15-17 points. Whereas in the British Acol system, we typically play a weak no trump opening – 12-14. I first came across this transfer system when I was a student in Cambridge. Then, they were certainly called Jacoby transfers.

2. With eleven points and a good suit, it is well worth having a shot at game, and bidding the second suit. With eleven points and no other suit to bid, you would bid two no trumps after the two heart response to the transfer bid of two diamonds, asking partner to choose between this and hearts. With thirteen plus points bid three no trumps after the transfer sequence. Partner will then choose four hearts if he has three or more in that suit, and any unbalance in his hand.

3. When you have king and queen in a suit always arrange to lead towards the strength. If the ace is in the right position, you will make both the king and the queen. Playing to the position of the cards is a vital part of card play in bridge.

Penarth club news

Our membership secretary, Meryl Skipper, with the help of Sarah Amos at Cardiff, has set up duplicate sessions using Bridge Base online (BBO) at 2pm on Wednesdays and 7pm on Fridays. Here are the results of last week, details and the hands are available on the Penarth Bridge Club web site.

Just click on Results and then the appropriate date. Wed. 31st March; 1. Paul and Sophie Cunningham (73.3%); 2.John Pikoulis and Meryl Skipper (62.78%); 3. John Holloway and Joy Seculer (62.2%). Fri 2nd April; 1. Roy and John Hollloway (59.7 %); 2. Mike Downey and Joy Seculer (57.6%); 3. Helen Houston and Tim Barsby (56.3%). Please contact me or Meryl if you want to join. The current positions in Peter Sampson’s ladder are: 1. Angela Hudson and Rod Hudson; 2. Anne Hirst and Patsy Cohen; 3. Carolyn Matthews and Patsy Cohen. Our weekly zoom bridge classes continue. Let me know if you would like to join us.

Further information

If you have any views, hands, and information you would like to share, please email me, My articles are available online. Keep well. Keep safe. Bon chance.