- Any suit advance at the 2-level is a competitive sign off.
- An advance of 2NT after RHO overcalls partner's 1NT shows a weak competitive hand. Opener must relay to 3♣.
- Advancer may correct to any suit lower-ranking than the overcalled suit as a sign off.
- A cue-bid by advancer is Stayman, promising a stopper in enemy suit.
- A higher-ranking suit than the overcalled suit at the three-level is invitational.
- 3NT by advancer is game-forcing and promises a stopper in the enemy suit.
- A direct cue-bid advance is Stayman, denying a stopper.
- A direct 3NT advance also denies a stopper.
- Opener must bid a suit with no stopper.
- A direct bid of 3 of a suit is forcing.
- If the suit is higher-ranking than the overcalled suit, then an invite is also possible by advancing 2NT first. Otherwise, only sign-off and game force are possible.
As a mnemonic for who has the stopper with cue-bids and 3NT, "slow shows, direct denies".
With a weak response and 5 hearts,
With game-forcing strength and a stopper,
With game-forcing strength and no stopper,
Lebensohl After a Takeout Double of a Weak Two Bid Edit
- A response of 2NT to a takeout double of opponent's weak two bid is Lebensohl, asking partner to relay 3♣.
- A direct 3-over-2 jump therefore shows 7-10 points and is not forcing.
- A direct cue-bud response denies a stopper.
- A direct 3NT response requires a stopper but denies slam interest.
Because the takeout double is unlimited, the doubler is not obligated to bid 3♣ with a monster hand and game-forcing values. Any bid other than 3♣ promises at least 18 (20?) points and is forcing below game unless doubler rebids an already-shown suit (not possible below game...?).
Extending Lebensohl Edit
Some partnerships use Lebensohl in a few other situations.
After a single raise Edit
When partner doubles a one-of-a-suit opening and RHO raises, 2NT is Lebensohl, asking partner to bid 3♣. This shows 8-9 points.
This application in particular gives up the 2NT response to the takeout double. But Lebensohl gives several more informative responses anyway.
After a reverse Edit
- 1♦-1♠-2♥-2NT is Lebensohl, continuing for instance -3♣-3♦ showing a weak sign-off in diamonds.