Lebensohl Convention (after partner opens 1NT)

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This popular convention is used after partner opens 1NT and your RHO overcalls a suit. If you bid 2NT in this position, it’s Lebensohl, which asks opener to bid 3C.

By Karen Walker
On 13 December, 2012 At 9:49

Category : Conventions, Intermediate @en

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Karen Walker
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This popular convention is used after partner opens 1NT and your RHO overcalls a suit. If you bid 2NT in this position, it’s Lebensohl, which asks opener to bid 3C. You can then describe one of several different types of responding hands:

  • A weak signoff with a long suit that’s lower in rank than the overcalled suit

  • Invitational values with a long suit that’s higher in rank than the overcalled suit

  • Game values with a 4-card major and a stopper in their suit

  • Game values with a 4-card major and no stopper in their suit

  • Game values with no major and a stopper in their suit

  • Game values with no major and no stopper in their suit

When you play Lebensohl, you give up the use of 2NT as a natural notrump invitation. This is not much of a sacrifice, as when you hold this type of hand — 8-9 pts. and a stopper in their suit — you can, and usually should, show it with a penalty double. 

If you’ve agreed to use the Lebensohl 2NT, here are the meanings of your bids as responder after:

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