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Dealing with NT Interference Looking for appropriate Int/Adv approach

#1 User is offline   bd71 

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Posted 2011-August-27, 22:39

Partner and I played in the two-session open pairs at a regional yesterday, and got trounced on several hands where we weren't prepared to deal with their interference over our 1NT openings.

Key problem was whether doubles are or SHOULD BE penalty or takeout in different situations; since we don't have any agreements here, we both bid what we thought it "should be" and weren't on the same page.

So...we're looking for suggestions on a set of agreements to handle NT interference...ideally, these agreements will:

1. Be simple enough for a partnership that plays together about once a month to agree and remember.

2. Be appropriate for good intermediate/early advanced players.

3. Address all key bidding needs after NT interference: bidding to right game with game-forcing strength (including assessing stoppers), provide opportunity to penalize over-aggressive opponents, transfer/escape to long suit when responder has weak hand. Bonus points if there are ways to invite NT opener to game, but I'm not optimistic this can be added in.


I suspect many will recommend Lebensohl, which is fine...but I don't believe Lebensohl includes agreements on how to use doubles. If that's indeed true (correct me if I'm wrong here), then Lebensohl is an incomplete answer.
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#2 User is offline   JLOGIC 

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Posted 2011-August-27, 23:11

Here is basically what I play and I think it is quite simple and logical:

1) Over any 2C just play systems on, so double would always be stayman. Subsequent doubles after a stayman X are penalty by both sides.

2) Any initial X of a natural 2D or higher (including a bid showing that suit + another suit) are always takeout by either side.

3) Any initial X of a completely artificial 2D or higher bid is "card showing" and creates a force through 2N (ie, X is inv+ values). After a card showing double, subsequent doubles are penalty by both sides.

4) Passing and then doubling is always takeout.
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#3 User is offline   Mbodell 

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Posted 2011-August-27, 23:43

View Postbd71, on 2011-August-27, 22:39, said:

I suspect many will recommend Lebensohl, which is fine...but I don't believe Lebensohl includes agreements on how to use doubles. If that's indeed true (correct me if I'm wrong here), then Lebensohl is an incomplete answer.


Lebensohl doesn't include agreements on the double. I've played it as takeout or penalty with Lebensohl on. It matters a little what your nt range is (strong, weak, or mini) and if you are playing MP or IMPs as your goals, and the quality and frequency of the opponents overcalls, matters.

Assuming you play strong nt and Lebensohl then I'd recommend:

1) double of 2C (any meaning) is stayman, the rest of your nt system is on over 2C (transfers and all the rest - not Lebensohl).

2) doubles of the 3 level bids are negative

3) doubles of 2D, 2H, 2S are penalty, as you have Lebensohl to compete with most hands. (if the bid was artificial, then penalty means suggesting penalty with cards/their shown suit).

4) doubles of 2nt suggest penalties.

5) once either partner has started to show their shape, or has made any sort of double, future doubles are penalty oriented.
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#4 User is offline   1eyedjack 

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Posted 2011-August-28, 02:03

You might get some constructive help if you post some of the several hands on which you got "trounced". Who knows, there may be a recurring theme.
Psych (pron. saik): A gross and deliberate misstatement of honour strength and/or suit length. Expressly permitted under Law 73E but forbidden contrary to that law by Acol club tourneys.

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Masterminding (pron. mPosted ImagesPosted ImagetPosted Imager-mPosted ImagendPosted Imageing) tr. v. - Any bid made by bridge player with which partner disagrees.
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#5 User is offline   bd71 

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Posted 2011-August-28, 10:51

View PostJLOGIC, on 2011-August-27, 23:11, said:

Here is basically what I play and I think it is quite simple and logical:

1) Over any 2C just play systems on, so double would always be stayman. Subsequent doubles after a stayman X are penalty by both sides.

2) Any initial X of a natural 2D or higher (including a bid showing that suit + another suit) are always takeout by either side.

3) Any initial X of a completely artificial 2D or higher bid is "card showing" and creates a force through 2N (ie, X is inv+ values). After a card showing double, subsequent doubles are penalty by both sides.

4) Passing and then doubling is always takeout.


This looks good. But when they make their natural or partially-natural two-suited bid, how do you penalize them? Or is #4 meant to be that passing/doubling is always penalty?
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#6 User is offline   1eyedjack 

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Posted 2011-August-28, 11:38

View Postbd71, on 2011-August-28, 10:51, said:

This looks good. But when they make their natural or partially-natural two-suited bid, how do you penalize them? Or is #4 meant to be that passing/doubling is always penalty?


I think that the idea is that you collect your penalties by converting your partner's takeout doubles by passing them.
This does require the 1N opener to protect partner by doubling with a doubleton in oppo suit, including in non-passout seat, when the teacher would typically advise a beginner that having opened a so-called descriptive 1NT you should thereafter forever hold your peace. In fact it is not quite the same situation as a typical preemptive opener.

You need to be a bit cagey if you can see that you have enough values for game, as well as a penalty double available, especially when you are red v white. Partner is not guaranteed to reopen with a double, and sometimes you have to give up on the greed fix and bid your game rather than collect what would have been a more lucrative penalty.
Psych (pron. saik): A gross and deliberate misstatement of honour strength and/or suit length. Expressly permitted under Law 73E but forbidden contrary to that law by Acol club tourneys.

Psyche (pron. sahy-kee): The human soul, spirit or mind (derived, personification thereof, beloved of Eros, Greek myth).

Masterminding (pron. mPosted ImagesPosted ImagetPosted Imager-mPosted ImagendPosted Imageing) tr. v. - Any bid made by bridge player with which partner disagrees.
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#7 User is offline   JLOGIC 

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Posted 2011-August-28, 12:02

View Postbd71, on 2011-August-28, 10:51, said:

This looks good. But when they make their natural or partially-natural two-suited bid, how do you penalize them? Or is #4 meant to be that passing/doubling is always penalty?


I do not make it a priority to penalize them. If I have enough for game I just bid it, and if not I just pass. If partner reopens with a X and they play it there that's great, but even if he doesn't I will just collect my plus score on defense with no game on for me. My priority is mainly to use my doubles to compete when otherwise it would be very difficult to be able to do so.
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#8 User is offline   ggwhiz 

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Posted 2011-August-28, 12:26

View PostJLOGIC, on 2011-August-28, 12:02, said:

I do not make it a priority to penalize them. If I have enough for game I just bid it, and if not I just pass. If partner reopens with a X and they play it there that's great, but even if he doesn't I will just collect my plus score on defense with no game on for me. My priority is mainly to use my doubles to compete when otherwise it would be very difficult to be able to do so.


For every penalty you miss I wager you gain multiple partscore swings when you can compete with a TO double on 5-7 pts. in a 4-4-3-2 shape
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#9 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2011-September-06, 03:49

I like to play exactly the same for doubles as Justin in combination with Rubensohl. An exception to consider is when a 2C overcall is Landy; now it is probably not optimal for double to be Stayman. It might also be a good idea to discuss what a new suit by doubler should mean, for example 1NT - (2S) - X - (P); 3C - (P) - 3H. I play this as invitational, effectively cancelling the take-out message but I do not know if this is standard. Perhaps most other new suit sequences are best played as some kind of conversion (weak 2-suited hand). Then again, these bids come up rarely enough that you can live without them and the simple agreements Justin gives are much better than no agreements at all!
(-: Zel :-)
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#10 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2011-September-06, 11:31

View PostZelandakh, on 2011-September-06, 03:49, said:

An exception to consider is when a 2C overcall is Landy; now it is probably not optimal for double to be Stayman.


I "ignore" the 2 overcall when it has no anchor suit, but if it has one I play Lebensohl as usual, based on (one of) their implied suit. If 2 is natural, I play ordinary Lebensohl, with 2 following the puppet as Stayman with a stopper. I don't know if this is best, though, and I would be interested in opinions.
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#11 User is offline   Flameous 

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Posted 2011-September-06, 12:02

I play _all_ doubles as TO, even over their artificial bids. It seems to work alright and is really easy to remember. NT opener just needs to remember to protect with any small doubleton at least, it's a bidders game.
Note that over something like landy, this brings some odd situations and there should be some idea of the follow ups and where we are forced.

For bids, I play transfer lebensohl, it's like lebensohl and rubensohl put together.
2NT is transfer to 3C as normal, weak in any lower suit or stayman with stopper like in normal leb.
3C and up are transfers to next suit with inv+ values. (There are some tweaks for higher suits, I can expand if needed)

This pretty much allows to bid with all drop deads, GFs and long suit invites other than clubs. (You can include club invites to double if you wish but it comes rarely and might cause troubles after further competition so we dropped it)


Oh, and in other partnership I played unusual vs. Landy. It works pretty well, just remember that X and bidding their suit is natural with interest to play that strain.
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#12 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2012-March-26, 00:11

View PostFlameous, on 2011-September-06, 12:02, said:

For bids, I play transfer lebensohl, it's like lebensohl and rubensohl put together.
2NT is transfer to 3C as normal, weak in any lower suit or stayman with stopper like in normal leb.
3C and up are transfers to next suit with inv+ values. (There are some tweaks for higher suits, I can expand if needed)


Yes, please expand on your version.
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#13 User is offline   BunnyGo 

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Posted 2012-March-26, 00:21

View PostJLOGIC, on 2011-August-27, 23:11, said:

Here is basically what I play and I think it is quite simple and logical:

1) Over any 2C just play systems on, so double would always be stayman. Subsequent doubles after a stayman X are penalty by both sides.


I know you said "any 2C" but do you not modify this when 2C shows the majors? If not, what's the follow up to stayman?
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#14 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2012-March-26, 01:52

This is what I play, I don't know if it is good, bad, or ugly but we do have an agreement.

1N (2x*) when 2x shows both majors
X I can penalise one suit
3x cue bid stopper
2N stopper in both suits, invitational
3N stopper in both suits, game forcing

1N (2x*) when 2x is one known major + a minor, standard leb applies
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#15 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2012-March-26, 09:45

I have heard that (at least on this side of the Pond, the "Landy vs weak NT" people probably are better than this) it's worth playing "systems on" over Landy, because there's a very good possibility that overcaller's spades, and some of their hearts, are actually clubs.

That does jive with my experience - but only against those people who play a different defence to a strong NT, and Landy vs. my weak NT.
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#16 User is offline   wodahs 

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Posted 2012-April-23, 14:02

I play an 11-14 NT, and have to deal with competition more often than most. For some (insane) reason, opps often use Capp against me, so we use something like Capp over Capp to counter their (ludicrous) 2C overcall (some long suit). Of course you can also pass to find out what overcaller's suit is, but I like to jam the auction when I can. After 1NT (2C) ??;

X = both majors, at least 54, so you have somewhere to land if partner rebids 2D. If you have enough to rebid 2NT, you should be waiting and maybe doubling
2D = any single-suiter, requiring a 2H rebid (but opener can super-select in hearts by rebidding 2S)
2M = 4-card M and 5-6 card m, opener asks for m with 2NT, but can show 5-card suits along the way in case responder has a 3-fit.
2NT = 4C and 5D
3C = 5C and 4D

We use the same treatment over the DONT Double (one-suiter), with 2C = both majors.

Seems to work OK.
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#17 User is offline   ahydra 

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Posted 2012-April-23, 14:27

The more I play, the more I seem to be preferring a simple X = takeout system over Lebensohl. It's great for flexibility, and you can simply say that if they bid a natural(ish) major and you X then it should have 4c in the other major or the ability to bid NT.

The interesting bit is whether opener should protect if it goes something like 1NT-2M-p-p. I play a 12-14 NT so protecting feels a bit dangerous - perhaps it should be up to responder to X even on fairly minimal hands if he has some shape.

JLOGIC's approach looks good too - I'm not sure you necessarily need to play "system on" after 2C, but (if 2C doesn't show majors) either "system on" or natural should work.

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#18 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2012-April-23, 15:17

View Postahydra, on 2012-April-23, 14:27, said:

The more I play, the more I seem to be preferring a simple X = takeout system over Lebensohl.

I don't get it, are you saying you can't play Lebensohl when you play X = takeout?
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