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Tag: 3nt

Lebensohl

In short Lebensohl is the use of the 2NT bid as an artificial bid to describe various hands after partner has opened 1NT (either weak or strong) or when partner has doubled a weak two. We will also look at other situations where you can use it as well.

Let’s look at how Lebensohl works after partner has opened a weak NT (12-14 points balanced).

So partner opens 1NT and RHO bids a suit naturally and now it’s your turn to bid!

So the 1NT bidder needs to know what your bids are….are they a:-

  • forcing response
  • non-forcing response
  • natural response
  • artificial response
  • invitational response
  • game-showing response

It is exactly these questions, which needed to be answered in order to structure a proper defense method for the No Trump bidder and partner. Without any guidelines the partnership would be lost as to how to continue. You’d be guessing and that is something we try and avoid in bridge if at all possible.

Responses to Lebensohl

Following is an outline of the responses available to the responder after a natural overcall in a suit.

NorthEastSouthMeaning
1NT2♣2//♠ / XTo Play / Values
1NT22/♠ / XTo Play / Values
1NT22♠ / XTo Play / Values
1NT2♠XValues
1NT2♣3Natural Game Forcing
1NT2♣3Natural Game Forcing
1NT2♣3♠Natural Game Forcing
1NT2♣2NTPuppet to 3♣

The 2NT forces opener to bid 3♣. The 2NT is a puppet bid forcing the 1NT opener to bid 3♣. We have the 1NT opener on strings…they are the puppet.

The rebids by the responder after 3 Clubs by his partner:

  1. Pass with a weak hand and long Clubs.
  2. Any bid suit below the rank of the overcall is a sign-off.
  3. Any bid suit above the rank of the overcall is invitational.

Any immediate cuebid of the suit of the opponent is Staymanic (asking opener to bid 4 card majors) and promises a good 12 high card point count.

Any immediate cuebid promises a 4-card Major suit, but it is important to remember that the cuebid also denies having a stopper in the suit bid by the opponent. This cuebid by the responder is forcing to game unless the partnership cannot find a Major fit.

NorthEastSouthMeaning
1NT2♣3♣Stayman (no club stop)
23Stayman (no diamond stop)
23Stayman (no heart stop)
2♠3♠Stayman (no spade stop)

The options for the No Trump bidder, after a cuebid by his partner, are as follows:

  1. to bid a 4-card Major, if he has a 4-card Major.
  2. to bid 3 No Trump with a stopper in the suit of the opponent.
  3. to seek a better contract, if neither condition is fulfilled.
    3.1. With a minimum No Trump, bid 4 Clubs or 4 Diamonds.
    3.2. If the 4-card Major suit of the responder is known, then the No Trump bidder can consider playing in a 4-3 Major fit.
    3.3. Holding a maximum No Trump and no wasted strength in the suit bid by the opponent, a jump to five of long Minor suit is advisable.
    3.4. Cuebidding the suit of the opponent at the four level is requesting the partner to choose his better Minor suit at the five level.  
    3 No Trump Response

1NT – 2X – 3NT

Any 3 No Trump response after any intervening overcall promises sufficient values and no 4-card Major suit, but it also denies having a stopper in the suit bid by the opponent. The No Trump bidder has then several options:

  • Pass with a stopper in the suit of the opponent.
  • Bids a 5-card Major suit, if he has one.
  • Explores for a better contract, generally in the Minor suits.

2NT Response

If the responder bids 2 No Trump after the immediate overcall, forcing his partner to rebid 3 Clubs, and then cuebids the suit of the opponent, then this cuebid is a Stayman bid, asking for a 4-card Major suit. The difference in this bidding sequence is the fact that the responder is showing a stopper in the suit of the opponent.

  1. Using the Lebensohl convention, it is apparent that the partnership only loses the natural 2 No Trump bid.
  2. The advantages are that each response can be recognized and determined as to whether they are:
    2.1. Forcing.
    2.2. Invitational.
    2.3. Non-forcing.
    2.4. Game-forcing. 
Lebensohl After A Takeout Double of a Weak Two Bid

After the opponents have opened the auction with a Weak Two bid and your partner doubles, defensive guidelines are necessary to inform your partner whether or not you, who are forced to bid, have a weak holding, a moderate holding, or a strong holding. The Lebensohl convention can assist greatly with this dilemma. The following guidelines should clarify.

  1. The 2 No Trump response by the responder forces the partner to rebid 3 Clubs. This gives the responder the opportunity to sign off in a long suit with a weak holding, and the partner must pass.
  2. A non-jump suit bid by the responder at the three level is constructive and informs the partner that his holding contains useful values and/or suit length and/or distribution.

This situation arose after such bidding sequences and holdings were encountered, such as the following:

NorthEastSouthWest
2♠DoublePass?

Holding 1

♠ – 754 – 86 – 109743 ♣ – 985

S 754 S 865
H 86 H K7
D 109764 D KQJ86
C 985 C 1082

Holding 2

♠ – 754 – K7 – KQJ86 ♣ – 985

Now using Lebensohl we have a method to define a weak hand and a hand that might be interested in game. Before Lebensohl it would be your best guess as whether the doubler should continue or not.

Other Lebensohl Situations

In a competitive situation…

NorthEastSouthWest
1♠Double2♠? (Lebensohl)

West can now use 2NT to try and sign off in a 3 level suit contract or bid a 3 level suit as invitational. Bid 2NT followed by 3♠ to show a stopper and 4 hearts or just bid 3♠ directly to show 4 hearts with no stopper.

After a weak jump overcall…

NorthEastSouthWest
1♣2♠ (weak)? (Lebensohl)

South can now use 2NT to try and sign off in a 3 level suit contract or bid a 3 level suit as invitational. Bid 2NT followed by 3♠ to show a stopper and 4 hearts or just bid 3♠ directly to show 4 hearts with no stopper.

After a strong reverse…

NorthEastSouthWest
1♣Pass1Pass
2♠Pass2NT*Pass
3♣PassPassPass

South can now use 2NT to try and sign off in 3 clubs when you’ve responded with a 5 count for example and can now use a simple 3♣ bid for example to explore slam without taking up valuable bidding space.

Two Different ways of playing Lebensohl

Going through 2NT with a stopper is known as FASS (Fast Arrival Shows Stopper).

Alternatively you can play it as going through 2NT denies a stopper or FADS (Fast Arrival Denies Stop).

My preference is for FADS!

The important thing is you agree what you are playing with your partner.

Frivolous 3NT

If we start with an auction with no intervening bidding such as:-

  • 1♠ – 2♣
  • 2♠ – 3♠
  • ?

If we have agreed an 8 card fit in the majors then most of the time it’s going to play better in 4♠, therefore if we give up the 3NT bid as a natural bid, we can use it for something more constructive….The Frivolous 3NT.

Based on the principal of fast arrival 3♠ here can show a better hand. We can now use 3NT as the more useful Frivolous 3NT conventional bid.

So what are the kinds of hand that would bid 3NT, cue bid, or just bid 4♠?

Hands that would bid the Frivolous 3NT

a)b)c)d) We open 1♣
♠ AQ10863
A62
K84
♣ 7
♠ KQ10754
KQ8
3
♣ K65
♠ AKJ1072
108
K2
♣ QJ10
♠ KJ876
K2
K106
♣ KJ
All these Hands bid the Frivolous 3NT

Hands that would Cue Bid

a)b)c)d) We open 1♣
♠ AQ10863
AKQ
Q72
♣ 7
♠ KQ10754
Q8
A72
♣ A5
♠ QJ10972
AK
AQ
♣ Q72
♠ KQJ86
AJ2
K106
♣ A7
All these Hands would cue bid at the lowest available level

Hands that would bid straight to game

a)b)We open 1♣c)We open 1♣d)
♠ KJ10863
KJ
KJ
♣ 732
♠ KQ754
KQ8
Q2
♣ J72
♠ K10972
AK7
Q7
♣ 972
♠ K987432
KQ
QJ
♣ 94
All these Hands would bid straight to game

Which auctions are Frivolous 3NT?

So in all the following Frivolous 3NT applies….

Auction 1

  • 1♠ – 2♣
  • 2♠ – 3♠
  • 3NT

Okay if you cannot spot this as frivolous 3NT you’re in trouble!

Auction 2

  • 1♠ – 2
  • 3 – 3NT

The Frivolous 3NT convention may be used by either partner as this is a 2/1 game forcing auction.

Auction 3

  • 1♠ – 2
  • 3 – 3♠
  • 3NT

Frivolous 3NT may be used after an intervening cue bid.

Auction 4

  • 1♠ – 2♣
  • 3♣ – 3♠
  • 3NT

Frivolous 3NT may be used after an intervening raise of responder.

Auction 5

  • 1♠ – 2
  • 2NT – 3♠
  • 3NT

Frivolous 3NT applies even if opener rebid a natural 2NT as long as the major is raised.

Auction 6

  • 1♠ – 2NT
  • 3♣ – 3
  • 3♠ – 3NT

Frivolous 3NT applies after any game forcing raise of a major, even without a 2/1. Here the responses are to Swedish Jacoby.

What Auctions aren’t frivolous 3NT?

Auction 1

  • 1♠ – 2♣
  • 2♠ – 2NT
  • 3♣ – 3♠
  • 3NT?

Here the 3♠ bid only shows 2 card support so the 3NT can be natural.

Auction 2

  • 1♠ – 2♣
  • 2 – 2♠
  • 3NT?

Jumps to 3NT aren’t frivolous…you can simply cue-bid over 2♠ or bid 3♠

Auction 3

  • 1♠ – 2♣
  • 2 – 3♠
  • 3NT?

3♠ is a strong picture jump raise therefore the Frivolous 3NT is not needed when the partnership is already known to be in the slam zone. This could be a case of wanting partner to cue bid 4♣ before you bid 4

Auction 4

  • 1♠ – 2
  • 3♠ – 3NT

The 3♠ bid is similar to the last auction is a strong picture jump suit rebid setting the suit.
Frivolous 3NT is not needed since the partnership is already known to be in the slam zone.

Auction 5

  • 1♠ – 1NT
  • 2♣ – 3♠
  • 3NT

Since the 3♠ is a 3-card limit raise. Here the Frivolous 3NT is off since responder’s 3♠ raise did not create a game force.

Well I hope that wets your appetite!

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