The Lebensohl Convention

        Many people ask:  "What's so great about Lebensohl?  
Why do so many experts insist on teaching us Lebensohl 
rather than any of the other conventions that exist?"  The 
reason, quite simply, is that other conventions are helpful 
and interesting; Lebensohl is NECESSARY.  Indeed, it is part 
of the 2over1.OK convention card, and SHOULD have been part 
of the SA-YC.OK card.  Because it isn't, you will have to 
ask any new prospective SAYC partner if they, too, play 
Lebensohl.  By using an artificial bid of 2NT, Lebensohlers 
can distinguish between bad hands and good ones, or between 
hands that DO have a guard in the enemy suit from hands 
that do NOT.

        The Lebensohl 2NT comes up in FIVE instances.  The 
first and most common is when the opponents have overcalled 
our partner's 1NT opening with 2-of-a-suit (e.g. 1NT-2H-2NT 
is Lebensohl).  1NT Opener is FORCED to bid 3C.  Then 
Responder can PASS with a weakish (i.e. "competing") hand 
that includes long Clubs or correct to any suit BELOW the 
Overcaller's suit.  In this way Responder can compete 
without getting 1NT Opener too excited.

  1NT   (2S)   2NT   (P)
  3C    (P)    3H          - Competing the partscore.
                             Advancer is NOT inviting 4H!

        In STANDARD Lebensohl a free bid by Responder at 
the 3-level WITHOUT prefacing it with the 2NT bid 
(e.g. 1NT-2H-3D) becomes FORCING.

  1NT   (2S)   3H          - FORCING.  10+ HCPs.

        With stronger hands, the 2NT force to 3C can be 
used to distinguish hands that DO have a guard in the 
enemy suit from those that DON'T.  For example, 2NT 
FOLLOWED by 3NT PROMISES a stopper in the enemy suit, 
while a JUMP to 3NT (e.g. 1NT-2D-3NT) DENIES any such 
guard.  Similarly, 2NT followed by a cuebid SHOWS a 
stopper while an immediate cuebid (e.g. 1NT-2H-3H) 
DENIES one.  In this way, "slow shows" while "direct 
denies".  In other words, the slower 2NT followed by 
a cuebid or 3NT (e.g. 1NT-2H-2NT-P-3C-P-3NT) SHOWS 
a stopper while the faster 1NT-2H-3NT DENIES one.

  1NT  (2D)   3D         - Denies a D stopper.  "Major?"

  1NT  (2D)   3NT        - Denies a D stopper.  
  1NT  (2H)   2NT   (P)
  3C   (P)    3H         - Shows a H guard.  "4 Spades?"

  1NT  (2S)   2NT   (P)
  3C   (P)    3NT        - Shows a S guard.

	  In this way 1NT Opener can predicate subsequent
action based upon knowledge of Responder's strength in
the enemy suit.  

	  A bid of a suit HIGHER RANKING than overcaller's
(i.e. a suit which Responder COULD have bid at the 
2-level) is FORCING if a jump, INVITATIONAL if prefaced 
by the 2NT relay to 3C.

 1NT   (2C)   2NT   (P)
  3C   (P)     3H		- This invites game.

 1NT   (2C)    3H		- This forces game. 

        Note:  SOME pairs play Lebensohl ONLY after 
interference over their 1NT openings.  Such pairs need 
not read any further.
        The second instance where Lebensohl is common is
over partner's double of their weak 2-bid 
(e.g. 2H-Dble-P-??).  Here, 2NT asks the doubler to bid 
3C, allowing partner ("Advancer") to PASS (with a weak 
hand and Club length) or correct to any suit below 
Overcaller's.  A direct 3-over-2 response by Advancer 
shows a slightly better hand (7-10 HCPs) but, unlike 
opposite a 1NT Opener, is NOT forcing.

   (2H)   Dble    (P)    2NT
   (P)     3C     (P)    3D  - Weakish hand with Diamonds.

   (2S)   Dble    (P)    3D  - Mediocre hand with Diamonds.
                                 - NOT forcing, though.

        Again, strong Advancer who is interested in playing
in a suit may cuebid directly WITHOUT a stopper, while
preferring 2NT followed by a cuebid when Advancer DOES have
a stopper (in case 3NT is the correct place after all).

   (2S)   Dble    (P)   2NT - Forces 3C.
   (P)     3C     (P)   3S  - "4H?  3NT, perhaps?"

   (2S)   Dble    (P)   3S  - "4H?  4-of-a-minor, maybe?"

        Consistent with the "SLOW SHOWS" theme, if Advancer
bids 2NT followed by 3NT s/he wants to play in 3NT and is
interested in a slam (if Doubler is maximal).  A JUMP to
3NT directly over the double DENIES slam interest.  BOTH
3NT bids by Advancer are natural ("to play"), promising a 
guard in the opponents' long suit.

   (2S)   Dble   (P)   2NT  - Forces 3C.
   (P)    3C     (P)   3NT  - 14-17 HCPs, slam interest.

   (2S)   Dble   (P)   3NT  - 11-13, NO slam interest.

			Extended Lebensohl

	Many pairs agree that if Opener's major suit opening
is raised after partner has doubled, Lebensohl is in effect.

   (1S)   Dble   (2S)  2NT  - Forces 3C.  8-9 HCPs.

   (1S)   Dble   (2S)  3H   - Shows 4+ Hearts, 10-12 HCPs.

   (1H)   Dble   (2H)  2NT  - Forces 3C.  8-9 HCPs.

   (1H)   Dble   (2H)  (P)
   (P)    Dble   Pass  2NT  - Forces 3C.  8-9 HCPs.

	Some long-standing partnerships "extend" Lebensohl 
to cover reverses:

   1D    (P)    1S    (P)
   2H    (P)    2NT   (P)
   3C    (P)    3D	  - A WEAK signoff in Diamonds.

   1D    (P)    1S    (P)
   2H    (P)    3D	  - Good hand, supporting Diamonds.

               Lebensohl Opposite Michaels  
	The least well known application of Lebensohl 
occurs after partner has made a Michaels cuebid.  In 
the case of a cuebid of a MINOR by partner, 2NT can 
show a guard in No Trump en route to a major.  
Overcaller will rebid 3C, whereupon ADANCER can rebid 
3H or 3S (invitational) or 3NT (which Overcaller may 
pass or correct to a major suit contract).  If the 
auction has started with 1D-2D, ADVANCER can force game 
with a 3D rebid over the forced 3C.

   1D    2D     (P)   2NT  - Forces 3C.
   (P)   3C     (P)   3S   - Invites 4S or 3NT.
   1D    2D     (P)   2NT  - Forces 3C.
   (P)   3C     (P)   3D   - Forces to game with a D guard.

   1C    2C     (P)   2NT  - Forces 3C.
   (P)   3C     (P)   3NT  - "3NT or 4-of-a-major?".
	If partner has made a Michaels cuebid of a MAJOR
(i.e. 1H-2H or 1S-2S) ADVANCER can stop in 3C or 3D
by rebidding 2NT.  If, instead of stopping in 3C or 3D,
ADVANCER rebids the promised major ADVANCER is showing
a weak hand (after 1S-2S) with Heart Support OR, after
1H-2H (where Responder COULD have stopped in 2S if weak),
an invitational hand with a guard in the enemy suit.

   1H    2H     (P)   2NT  - Forces 3C.
   (P)   3C     (P)   3S   - Invites 4S or 3NT.
   1S    2S     (P)   2NT  - Forces 3C.
   (P)   3C     (P)   3H   - Weak hand with 3+ Hearts.
	In this way, any direct bid of a lower ranked suit
shows values.  In the case of 3C, it asks Overcaller
to PASS with a minimum and 5+ Clubs, correct to 3D
with a minimum and 5+ Diamonds, rebid 3H with 5+ Clubs
and a maximum, 3S with 5+ Diamonds and a maximum but
no stopper for NT, or 3NT with 5+ Diamonds and a guard
in the enemy suit.

   1S    2S     (P)   3C   - Invitational, MINOR length
   (P)   ??                - PASS = 5+ Clubs, minimum.
                           - 3D = 5+ Diamonds, minimum.
			   - 3H = 5+ Clubs, maximum,
			          allowed 3S to ask for
				  a guard in their suit.
			   - 3S = 5+ Diamonds, maximum,
		 	  	  no Spade stopper.
			   - 3NT = 5+ Diamonds, maximum,
		   		   Spade guard.
   1S    2S     (P)   3H   - Natural, invitational.

   1H    2H     (P)   3D   - Natural, 10-14, 6+ Diamonds,
   				 no interest in Clubs or 

        Because this application was originally designed
to solve ADVANCER's problem with an invitational hand
with 3+ Hearts after 1S-2S-P, this variation has been
dubbed "Heartensohl". :)

          -----  A word about these Extensions  -----
	These extensions, however, are NOT part of 
"standard" Lebensohl (i.e. even if your partner agrees
to play Lebensohl, they may not be part of your arsenal
until you explicitly mention each extension) and would 
have to be discussed BEFOREHAND.  

	"Partner," you might ask after establishing that
you play Lebensohl, "do we play it after a reverse?  
How about over a double of their weak 2's?  If so, do 
you also play it over 1H-Dble-2H and 1S-Dble-2S?  How 
about opposite a Michaels cuebid?"

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2-suiter Overcalls