The transfer mania and its enemies
Homage to Karl Popper and to my late countryman Gyula Lorant, the best defender of Aranycsapat and the amazing coach of Bayern München
‘ Ist sie eine eine Mauer, baun wir silberne Zinnen auf Ihr.
Ist sie eine Tür, versperren wir sie mit einem Zedernbrett.’
Das Hohelied 8,9
As all we know, a transfer is a good solution after a strong(ish) notrump opening. It gives us more room, and it rightsides the contract. And THEIR extra room isn’t a factor, because the NT opener has strength BEHIND the incoming opponent, so THEIR finesses will be real ‘finesses’ as Frenchmen say.
But like many good ideas (such as using a good comb to make our dark and curly hair beautiful – now some people use combs for weedgardening as well) it has terrible extensions as well. To play transfers after a weak(ish) NT is questionable even by itself, but the (so-called modern) tendency in duplicate bridge (as we mentioned in Article 1. is to play 1 Club as 2+ cards and use transfer responses after it. Many players, me included, have tried it. THEORETICALLY it‘s fine (gives us more SPACE), rightsides the contract, but…
And there are TWO big buts. First of all, „rightside“ is often the wrong side and, much more importantly, WE (the users of this method) win only a small space but give THEM more ROOM. The easiest defence that we used against this ‘maniac transfer’ up till now was VERY effective:
take (1C)-p-(1D=HEARTS) as a real 1H answer and use everything the same but 1H is a real takeout of 1H and DOUBLE is just a weak NT.
This is a common handtype which we COULDN’T bid after a natural response. But we can do it now, thanks to the so called ‘good transfers’. And all of us using this defence found that it is a huge winner for us: nearly none of us would come after 1C directly with a weakish 5-bagger and 6-9 points previously, but we can compete comfortably NOW.
So the drawbacks are clear, but after a funny trip from Kitzbühel, Tirol, ÖSTERreich to München, Bayern, Deutschland I woke up after a nice 5-hour sleep with a brand new idea.
Lets go back to Golden Ages of bridge and play something new (looking):
Lets limit our overcall after transfer to 8-14 HCP lets say and play DOUBLE as 2 way: either weak NT OR 15+ with any good suit.
(The ranges are depends on of your ORIGINAL overcalling style. Our one is very French: simple overcalls by UPH is ALWAYS show opening values.)
Because our opponents have 16+ HCP for (nearly) sure, we won‘t be preempted, but can use this new policy for our positive effect. And as we mentioned in Article 1 too: bridge (different to life, never forget to mention it) is a zero-sum game, so what is good for us, is bad for them (8). We tried this new concept in the local Club Monday with my friend György Weisz, on Gründonnerstag with Walter Sorger. Later or sooner we will do it in a French or English speaking city. And at 1st of April, Ostermontag and Fools Day in Wien.
Au revoir, Hongrie!
Bogenhausen, München, Bayern, Deutschland
2013, 29th March, Day 35 ACE, Karfreitag