The Lavings convention is a simple way of asking for 5 card majors after partner has opened a strong or weak NT.

After an opening 1NT Bid and 2♣ Response

So it’s important to known you can only bid 2♣ with invitational hands.

BidMeaning
2Minimum no 5 card Major
2Minimum 5 card hearts
2♠Minimum 5 card spades
2NTMaximum no 5 card suit
3♣Maximum 5 card club suit
3Maximum 5 card diamond suit
3Maximum 5 card heart suit
3♠Maximum 5 card spade suit

Continuations after 2

So after 1NT – 2♣ – 2 uninterrupted

BidMeaning
25 card suit non-forcing
2♠5 card suit non-forcing
2NTTo Play
3♣Promissory Stayman

Continuations after 2NT

So after 1NT – 2♣ – 2NT uninterrupted. 3♣ would be promissory Stayman.

Some Examples

Let’s look at some examples of strong and Weak NT openers.

a)b)c)d)
♠ AQ1083
K8
KJ7
♣ A97
♠ AJ53
J54
QJ72
♣ K7
♠ KJ4
K108
AQ762
♣ A7
♠ KJ862
42
KQ7
♣ AJ10
♠ 954
A74
Q8543
♣ K3
♠ Q73
KQ973
A65
♣ 43
♠ Q72
AQ962
93
♣ 953
♠ Q73
KQ973
A65
♣ 43
e)f)g)h)
♠ AQ862
42
KQ7
♣ KJ10
♠ KJ82
42
KQ7
♣ AJ107
♠ KJ8
42
KQJ7
♣ A1092
♠ KJ62
42
KQ7
♣ AJ107
♠ J73
K10973
43
♣ A65
♠ Q763
KQ93
A65
♣ 43
♠ Q763
KQJ3
1073
♣ K5
♠ Q1073
KQ73
A65
♣ 43

The Bidding

a) 1NT (15-17) – 2♣ – 3♠ – 4♠

So the 3♠ shows a maximum and you simply raise it to 4♠

b) 1NT (12-14) – 2♣ – 2 – 2

Partner has invitational 5 card heart suit but after just bidding 2 you can pass this even with 3 card support.

c) 1NT (15 – 17) – 2♣ – 3 – 3 – 4

The original NT bidder is maximum with a 5 card diamond suit. You now bid your 5 card heart suit (game forcing) which gets supported to 4.

d) 1NT (12 – 14) – 2♣ – 3♠ – 4♠

The original NT bidder is maximum with a 5 card spade suit. You now bid 4♠.

e) 1NT (15-17) – 2♣ – 2♠

So the 2♠ shows a minimum with 5 spades which you can just pass.

f) 1NT (12-14) – 2♣ – 2NT – 3♣ – 3♠ – 4♠

2NT shows a maximum without any 5 card suit. 3♣ is promissory Stayman (it guarantees a 4 card major) and partner bids 3♠ which then gets raised to 4♠.

g) 1NT (12 – 14) – 2♣ – 2NT – 3♣ – 3 – 3NT

The 2NT shows a maximum without any 5 card suit. 3♣ is promissory Stayman (it guarantees a 4 card major) and partner bids 3 which denies a 4 card major. 3NT is then bid.

h) 1NT (12 – 14) – 2♣ – 2NT – 3♣ – 3 – 3NT – 4♠

The 2NT shows a maximum without any 5 card suit. 3♣ is promissory Stayman (it guarantees a 4 card major) and partner bids 3. 3NT is bid as you don’t like hearts and partner converts to the known 4-4 spade fit and bids 4♠.

So that’s how to play the Lavings bidding convention….a five card major ask after an opening 1NT.