Phillip Alder   Phillip Alder
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Alder Transfer Pre-empts

     Back in 1972, it occurred to me that opening three notrump with a solid seven- or eight-card minor suit and no side ace, king or void — the Gambling Three Notrump — had the big risk of making the wrong partner declarer. It was surely preferable for partner to be declarer. Also, if one opened four clubs or four diamonds as a natural bid, it was on the tough side to reach three notrump. So I came up with the following scheme of opening bids:

3: your call
3: a weak three-bid in either major
3: a four-bid in either minor
3: Gambling three notrump
3NT: your call
4: a good four-heart opening — known as Namyats
4: a good four-spade opening
4: a normal four-heart opening
4: a normal four-spade opening

     A good four-of-a-major opening in my book meant either a solid suit or a semisolid suit with a trick on the side.

     We tried several three-club openings. The longest-lasting was either a normal three-diamond opening or a very good three-club opening with some 12-14 high-card points. This worked well until I opened three clubs with seven diamonds. Partner had six diamonds and never believed we had a thirteen-card fit! We passed out a vulnerable four spades by the opponents when we were only one down in five diamonds, nonvulnerable.

     You could make it a normal three-club opening. Or a weak three in either minor, which would be exciting for everyone (and illegal in the United States!). Let your imagination flow.

After a Three-Diamond Opening

     The responder makes one of these bids:
Pass: long diamonds
3: pass or correct (opener passes with hearts, or bids three spades with that suit)
3: pass or correct
3NT: to play

After a Three-Heart Opening

Pass: long hearts
3: what is your suit? (opener bids three notrump with clubs and four clubs with diamonds)
3NT: to play
4: pass or correct
4: pass or correct
4: to play
4: to play

After a Three-Spade Opening

3NT: to play
4: pass or correct
4: do you have a singleton?
4: to play
4: to play
4NT: please bid a slam with an eight-card suit
5NT: if you suit is solid opposite a void, please bid seven

     Over the four-diamond response, opener rebids four of a major with a singleton there; four notrump with 7-2-2-2 distribution; and five of a minor to announce that that is his suit and a singleton in the other minor.

After Namyats

The responder will normally bid the shown major. But if he bids the next step (four diamonds over four clubs, or four hearts over four diamonds), he is making a slam-try.