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To transfer or NOT to transfer?

An interesting hand came up at MPs this week. All red, I held  Ax  xxx  xx  J9xxxx. Partner opened 1NT (14+ - 17). I chose to Pass rather than transfer via 2 to clubs. Instead of relating my reasoning, I would rather tell the follow-up and expert commentary. The first thing to happen was my partner expressed strong disapproval with this choice. He played well to go down 1, although 3 would probably also go down 1. We matchpointed 33%. I then asked a fairly large contingent of local experts. The overwhelming consensus was to transfer. Some comments were: "I don't think too much about these; I just transfer." "I think transfer is 70-30".

But there were more nuanced comments. One expert said he would transfer white but pass red, the reasoning being that -200 is death at MPs and more likely at the 3-level in clubs than the one-level at NT. Curiously, another expert said he would do the reverse with the same reasoning in mind, thinking -200 more likely in 1NT. Another replied that while he would probably transfer, the doubleton spade might change his mind since transfer need begin with 2 and might allow an easier balance via x by the opponents.

Anyway, I would appreciate some well thought out arguments or some simulation analyses by the readers. It should be pointed out that 1NT frequently includes a 5-card major in our style.


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