~Lebensohl after an overcall of your 1NT opener

The Lebensohl Convention

(Direct Denies)


If the opponent doubles partner’s 1NT opener:

~Redouble transfers to 2C so responder can pass or bid 2D.


If the opponent bids 2C:

~Double says bid as if I had made the 2C bid–so it’s Stayman.

~Jacoby transfers are still on (but only over 2C).


If the opponent bids 2D,2H, or 2S:

~Double is for penalty.


If the opponent bids a suit at the 2-level other than 2C:

~A new suit at the 2-level shows 5+ cards and is to play.

~A major suit at the 3-level shows 5+ cards and is forcing.

~A minor suit at the 3-level shows 5+ cards and is invitational.

~A direct cue-bid of the opponent’s suit is Stayman but denies a stopper in the suit bid. Opener then has three options:

            ~Bid a 4-card or longer major.

            ~Bid 3NT lacking an unbid 4-card major with a stopper.

            ~Otherwise, bids a minor.

~2NT is a transfer to 3C.

~3NT shows game points but denies a stopper. If opener is also without a stopper, he bids a minor suit looking for a better contract.


The 2NT bid is the heart of Lebensohl. Responder has several options after the transfer to 3C. All the following bids are made after making a 2NT transfer bid:

~Pass to play in a 3C contract.

~Bid 3D to play.

~Bid a new major suit that is lower-ranking than the overcall suit as an invite in that suit with 5+ cards asking partner to bid further only if at the top of his opener with a fit for your major. (An immediate bid of that suit at the 3-level was available as a forcing bid; no such bid is appropriate at the 3-level with a weaker hand). Example: 1NT-2S-2NT-P, 3C-P-3H-? as an invitational bid in hearts. Note: this bid in the original Lebensohl was to play.

~Bid a new major at the 3-lvl that is higher than the overcall suit as an invitational bid–since responder could have made a forcing or weak bid directly over the interference.

~Cue-bid the opponent’s suit as Stayman showing a stopper.

~Bid 3NT: shows a stopper.


Bidding goes:


2S to play

3H: Stayman without a heart stopper with game values

3C/3D: Invitational

3S: 5+ spades and forcing to game

3NT: No stopper

2NT: Transfers to 3C, after which:

3D: to play

3H: Stayman with a stopper in hearts and forcing

3S: Invitational (could have bid 2S directly to play or 3S directly to force.

3NT: Has a heart stopper


Bidding goes:


3C/3D: Invitational

3H: Forcing

3S: Stayman w/o a stopper

2NT: Transfer to 3C, after which

3D: to play

3H: Invitational (no heart bid to play after 2S interference).

3S: Stayman with a stopper

3NT: Has a spade stopper.

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