Home

Lebensohl 



Lebensohl is a convention used when your partner opens 1NT and the RHO overcalls.


The underlying premise of Lebensohl is that Slow Shows and Direct Denies .

The 2nt Lebensohl bid helps us distinguish between weak hands and intermediate or stronger hands.   This bid is also helpful in determining whether you have a stopper in the opponent's suit.
What follows is a overview of Lebensohl followed a few examples that should help to clarify things.

  •  A bid on the 2 level it is natural and not forcing
  •  A bid a new suit on the 3 level it is natural and forcing to game.
  •  A cuebid the opponent?s suit it is stayman (denying a stopper).
  •  3NT is to play and denies a stopper in the opponent?s suit.
  •  2nt is a relay bid demanding partner to bid 3C ? your next response will clarify things.
     (a)  3 of a lower ranking suit than the overcaller?s is natural and is not forcing.
     (b)  3 of a higher ranking suit is invitational
     (c)  A delayed cuebid on the 3 level is stayman but shows a stopper in the enemy?s suit.
     (d)  3NT is to play and shows a stopper in the enemy?s suit. 
Example Hands


 When responder has a 5-card major suit higher in rank than the overcaller's suit the suit it can be bid on the 2 level and is non-forcing. 

North

East

South

West

1NT

2H

2S

Pass

                                                               This shows 5+ spades and a weak hand -- opener must pass. 


                                                               When responder has a game forcing hand he makes a 3 level bid.

North

East

South

West

1NT

2C

3S

Pass

                      This shows 5 spades and 10+ points.  It is game forcing.  The final contract could be 3nt if clubs are firmly stopped.

                                                      When responder has an invitational hand he uses Lebensohl to show his values.

North

East

South

West

1NT

2C

2NT

Pass

3C

Pass

3S

Pass


                                                                  This shows 5 Spades and invitational values.  It can be passed. 
                                                                          The 2nt Relays to 3C and then responder bids her suit.



    This bidding is a little different if responder's suit is below the suit of the opponents. 

North

East

South

West

1NT

2S

2NT

Pass

3C

Pass

3H

Pass

                                                    This shows at least 5 hearts and the desire to compete for a partscore.   It is not forcing.

 

North

East

South

West

1NT

2S

3H

Pass

                                                This shows at least 5 hearts and 10+ points .  The direct 3 level bid is game forcing.
                                                  If the 1NT opener has spades firmly stopped  -- the final contract could be 3nt.
        

North

East

South

West

1NT

2C

3C

Pass

                                                       Cuebid of the opponent's suit is Stayman and asks partner if he has a major.


                                                                   Suppose responder has long clubs and a weak hand?

North

East

South

West

1NT

2D

2NT

Pass

3C

Pass

Pass

Pass


                                                                  Responder wishes to compete for a partscore.


Suppose you have long Strong Clubs and an Outside Entry?

North

East

South

West

1NT

2D

3C

Pass

This is game forcing and implies long strong clubs and suggests either a Club Game or 3nt depending on Opener's Hand.
In another book I read that this is invitational since overcaller's suit is higher ranking.


 FAST Denies -- SLOW Shows

North

East

South

West

1NT

2H

2NT

Pass

3C

Pass

3NT

Pass


   By using Lebensohl here -- responder is confirming a Heart Guard.

  FAST Denies -- SLOW Shows

North

East

South

West

1NT

2H

3NT

Pass

Failure to use Lebensohl here denies a Heart Guard but  responder is showing 10+ points and is denying 4 Spades.


North

East

South

West

1NT

2H

2NT

Pass

3C

Pass

3H

Pass

Your delayed cuebid here shows a Heart Guard and is Stayman showing Four Spades


North

East

South

West

1NT

2H

3H

Pass

?

 

 

 

Your DIRECT cuebid here denies a Heart Guard and is Stayman showing Four Spades and appropriate values. 


 

North

East

South

West

1NT

2D

3D

Pass


Your DIRECT cuebid here denies a Diamond Guard and is Stayman asking for a major suit and showing appropriate values. 


North

East

South

West

1NT

2D

2NT

Pass

3C

Pass

3D

Pass

Your delayed cuebid here shows a Diamond Guard and is Stayman with appropriate values.
Opener can place the Contract. 


 
 
Summary:

When responder has a suit that can be bid at the same level as the overcaller:
1nt -- 2C-- 2S = to play
1nt -- 2C-- 3S is game forcing showing 5 spades and a solid hand.
1nt -- 2C -- 2nt-- pass --3C --pass --3S  is game invitational.

When responder has a suit that cannot be bid a the same level as the overcaller:
1nt -- 2S -- 2nt--3C --Pass -- 3H  shows a hand that wishes to compete for partscore
1nt -- 2S -- 3H  is game forcing.  With spades firmly stopped the final contract could be 3nt.

When responder has a four card Major he can cuebid the opponent's suit.
1NT -- 2C -- 3C  is stayman.  Opener can set the contract.
1NT -- 2H-- 2nt-- pass-- 3C -- 3H promises 4S.  Delayed cuebid also promises a spade stopper.
1NT -- 2H -- 3H-- is stayman denying a heart stopper but promising 4S.
                      Remember -- FAST DENIES -- SLOW SHOWS

The harderst one to remember is 1NT --2S  --3NT - This shows game values but denies a Spade Stopper
Whereas:  1NT - 2S-  2NT - 3C - P -  3NT promise a Spades stopper and game Values

Points to Clarify:
Are systems on if the opponents double?
Are systems on if the opponents bid 2C?
If the opponents overcall is a direct double by responder penalty orientated or is this double for takeout.

                                           




   More References:         Richmond Bridge Club      Bridgehands