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Best Lebensohl explanations, ever!

#1 User is offline   SimonFa 

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Posted 2012-January-18, 04:18

I've wanted to understand Lebensohl for a while, not becasue I want to play it, its far too advanced me for my partnerships, but to help with my enjoyment of Vuraph broadcasts, understanding the occasional discussions in the A/E threads that refer to it and so I know what is going on in the unlikely event it comes up at club nights.

I've read a few lot of explanations but quite frankly they were terrible, convoluted and wordy without any context and have always come away frustrated.

So I was very pleased when I found this movie explanationfrom Howard Schutzman AKA BBO nickname "hondo717" on his website. It takes the viewer step by step through the convention in a very easily digestible format.

Bridge would be a lot easier (for me) if all complicated conventions were set out like this.

Perhaps at the end of the year we can have a B/I award for the best online teacher/explanation of conventions and this is my nomination?

Regards,

Simon

PS Posted as an aid to other B/Iers rather than as a general question/discussion.
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#2 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2012-January-19, 13:24

I like it a lot - it all makes sense. The only thing I would say is that I would never recommend "stolen bid doubles" if you're not going to learn Lebensohl - people take too much liberties in overcalls for you to not have any way to penalize them.

I prefer "half-lebensohl": "2 bids are to play, 3 bids are forcing, cuebid is Stayman" - everything except the 2NT puppet. Just as easy to play as "stolen bid".
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#3 User is offline   FrancesHinden 

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Posted 2012-January-19, 16:23

The presentation on the website is cute.

I ought to warn you, though, that the presentation doesn't describe lebensohl the way it is usually played in England. Sorry.

[There are two differences:

1. It's normal in England to play a direct jump to 3NT shows a stop, and going via 2NT denies a stop
2. The original 'lebensohl double' was to play that a double of an overcall showed a balanced raise to 2NT with 2 or 3 of their suit. Very few people play that (take-out is much more common) but you do still come across it
]
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#4 User is offline   TWO4BRIDGE 

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Posted 2012-January-19, 17:44

His Lebensohl is what has been described by Karen Walker ( "slow-shows" stop ..... "direct-denies" stop ).

Even with Lebensohl on the card, Responders to often just immediately "cues" for Stayman or immediately bids "3NT" with no distinction between stop or no stop .
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#5 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2012-January-20, 07:21

As Frances says, in England it is standard to play "no trump, no stop" rather than "slow shows". Interestingly, when I learned Lebensohl it was described as a way to compete while keeping a penalty double. If it is true that the original version used this double, and given that take-out is the most common meaning, that definition looks somewhat funny looking back.

Stolen bid doubles are fine after a 2 overcall. Lebensohl (or equivalent) is better over a 2, 2 or 2 overcall. If the opponents play an artificial method such as Asptro (where 2 = spades and another) then you also need to decide what to do with sequences like 1NT - (2) - 2, 1NT - (2) - 3, and 1NT - (2) - 2NT; 3 - 3 as well as an immediate double and a delayed double.
(-: Zel :-)
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#6 User is offline   Fluffy 

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Posted 2012-January-20, 08:28

View PostSimonFa, on 2012-January-18, 04:18, said:

but to help with my enjoyment of Vuraph broadcasts, understanding the occasional discussions in the A/E threads that refer to it and so I know what is going on in the unlikely event it comes up at club nights.

People have different agreements to what lebensohl bids show etc, but what Lebensohl really its only 2 ways to bid at the 3 level, so Instead of having the options of 2NT, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3NT. (6 options) You sacrifice the unlikelly 2NT and come with 2 ways to bid 3*,3, 3, 3, 3NT (10 options). Giving meaning to those 10 options needs to be discussed.


One of the bids to reach 3 is by puppeting to 3, partner has no possible reaction if you pass this, so this is not enterelly an option and needs that you plan a bit.

there are also 2 ways to bid at the 4 level if you want, but in general people don´t have agreements for that.
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#7 User is offline   Cthulhu D 

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Posted 2012-January-23, 07:15

Thanks for the link - as a result of this presentation all my regular partners now play transfer lebhensol.

Incidentally, why is the convention seen as a dark art? It's not complex and is pretty useful.
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#8 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2012-January-23, 11:58

So, Cthulhu, what does 2NT show?

Not, "it forces 3, after which partner will show her hand", what does it show?
(Yes, I realise it matters what the auction was and what the overcall means. That's part of the problem).

Yes, once you internalise it, it works perfectly, and it's obvious what to bid and what partner showed. But the 2NT bid itself is highly ambiguous, and really difficult to understand, until you do get it.

That's why I like "lebensohl without lebensohl" as I said above. Partly it gets people used to the structure, partly it basically works (without the extra competition, I know, but once they figure it out, it's time to show how to "have one bid mean two things").
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#9 User is offline   Cthulhu D 

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Posted 2012-January-23, 16:52

View Postmycroft, on 2012-January-23, 11:58, said:

So, Cthulhu, what does 2NT show?

Not, "it forces 3, after which partner will show her hand", what does it show?
(Yes, I realise it matters what the auction was and what the overcall means. That's part of the problem).

Yes, once you internalise it, it works perfectly, and it's obvious what to bid and what partner showed. But the 2NT bid itself is highly ambiguous, and really difficult to understand, until you do get it.

That's why I like "lebensohl without lebensohl" as I said above. Partly it gets people used to the structure, partly it basically works (without the extra competition, I know, but once they figure it out, it's time to show how to "have one bid mean two things").


Maybe I just don't find the concept of a temporising bid to let partner further clarify his hand type that diffificult. It's not really that complicated, it's conceptually the same as Soloway Jump Shifts where 1H - 2S can show a variety of different handtypes will responder will clarify on his next bid. Heck, even Jacoby transfers work the same way (after 2D, I bid 2H and partner can follow up with 4H with slam intrest, pass with no intrest in anything else, 3NT to offer a choice of games and 3H to invite).

So I temporise in a defined way (in Lebhensohl I bid 3C, in SJS I show side suit shortness if I have it etc), and then responder unwinds his actual handtype.

The most complicated bit is not the 2NT - 3C space save relay, it is remembering to discuss that against Suction you assume the weak single suiter and in transfer methods that your cue bid is the suit they are showing, not the suit they have and you're done.
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#10 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2012-January-25, 17:55

View Postmycroft, on 2012-January-19, 13:24, said:

The only thing I would say is that I would never recommend "stolen bid doubles"


Never say never - I play a "stolen bid double" in exactly one situation, which is when they overcall 2 over our 1NT (opening or overcall). It's usually artificial anyway and Stayman is too useful to give up.
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#11 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2012-January-25, 18:34

View Postmycroft, on 2012-January-19, 13:24, said:

The only thing I would say is that I would never recommend "stolen bid doubles"


View Postmgoetze, on 2012-January-25, 17:55, said:

Never say never - I play a "stolen bid double" in exactly one situation, which is when they overcall 2 over our 1NT (opening or overcall). It's usually artificial anyway and Stayman is too useful to give up.


Gotta say that I agree with both these posts. I do note that mycroft's original included "if you're not going to play Lebensohl". :P
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#12 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2012-January-26, 08:54

Heh, that's not "stolen bid doubles", that's "system on after 2 (and potentially double)." And I frequently play that, no matter what 2 means; and when I don't, I play it after 2 that does not explicitly show clubs (and if it does, then we choose to lose the invitational diamond hand over the 'stayman with a stopper' hand).

At least over here. I also play double = "they took my bid" after 1 strong-1 (well, sort of, we play p=0-4 and X=5-7 and systems on), and certain other individual circumstances; but "stolen bids", around here, means "all doubles after 1NT-interference are "this is what I wanted to bid." And because there are at least two meanings for double that are better than that ("partner I want to penalize", and "partner, do you want to penalize?" (okay, so it's takeout, but it does invite partner to convert)) I try to convince people (who aren't playing against me at the time, of course) to convert to *anything* else.
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#13 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2012-January-26, 09:07

And Cthulhu, it's easy to understand the relay - but what if fourth-hand interferes? Is it easy to work out from context what everything means after that? (yes, after a while, but this is beginners). And what about 1NT-(x-or-2 "artifical one-suiter")-? and -p-(relay)-p-(p-or-bid suit)-? Is Lebensohl on in the latter case? When would you bid directly over the "I have one suit" and when would you want to let them show the suit first? Again the answers make sense, again they're not obvious. It's complicated.

But part of the reason I asked that question was that "puppet to 3, shows many hands" is insufficient explanation, and the opponents, if they don't know lebensohl themselves, will be at an disadvantage competing if that's your explanation. And that advantage to you is not a legal one. So you have to be able to enumerate the hands if necessary. When you're learning this crazy tool is not the time to have a "but she said he had clubs, so I didn't lead one/I thought partner's minor had to be diamonds and bid the 4-1" discussion with the TD - as it's *always* heated, and even if you will likely prevail, the answer to 'what's 2NT' is going to come under great scrutiny.

And you have to have the "list of hands I can show" available to you when making the first bid - the most common learning lebensohl line is "sorry partner, I couldn't show X". "What about <sequence that shows X>?" "Oh yeah, right. Why didn't I think of that?" And the answer is that there's a lot to remember - it's complicated.
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#14 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2012-January-26, 09:49

I personally believe that simple Rubensohl is easier both to explain and to play than standard Lebensohl. The main drawback is simply that fewer play it and therefore it is harder to find a partner to use it with.

1. new suits at the 2 level are competitive.
2. bids from 2NT to 3 show the suit above (transfers); transferring to opponents' suit is Stayman.
3. 3 is a raise to 3NT without a stopper
4. 3NT is to play

That is it although there are a few additional things that are good to note:

a. A transfer to a suit that could not be shown at the 2 level is competitive or game forcing; a transfer to a suit that could have been shown at the 2 level is invitational or better.
b. If the opponents' suit is a major then partner's major is known when they bid Stayman; you can show it by bidding it, deny it but show a stop by bidding 3NT, or deny both the major and a stop by bidding the opponents' suit.
c. If partner's major suit is not known then it is better to bid the opponents' suit without a stopper with other immediate rebids showing a stop. After Opener bids their suit, Responder can bid the major they do not hold to keep right-siding in play.

The big advantage is that you know partner's suit immediately which sometimes allows you to compete even opposite a weak hand. There are some additional tweaks you can make too but the above is quite playable, showing exactly the same hands as Lebensohl but in a (imo) more intuituve way. It is also simpler to bid game-forcing 2-suiters using the familiar transfer + new suit method.

Some examples (against natural defence):-

1NT - (2) - 2 = to play (competitive)
1NT - (2) - 3 = diamonds, weak or GF
1NT - (2) - 3 = Stayman, 4 spades (now 3 = not 4 spades, no heart stop; 3 = 4 spades; 3NT = not 4 spades, heart stop)
1NT - (2) - 3 = spades, invitational or better
1NT - (2) - 3 = enough for 3NT but no heart stopper (and not 4 spades)
1NT - (2) - 3 = Stayman, 4 hearts and/or 4 spades
1NT - (2) - 3 - 3 = no diamond stop (now 3 = 4 spades, 3 = 4 hearts, 3NT = 4-4 majors with stop, 4m = 4-4 majors, better minor, no stop)
1NT - (2) - 3 - 3 = 4 hearts with diamond stop
1NT - (2) - 3 - 3 = 4 spades with diamond stop
1NT - (2) - 3 - 3NT = no 4 card major with diamond stop
(-: Zel :-)
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#15 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2012-January-26, 10:23

View Postmycroft, on 2012-January-23, 11:58, said:

So, Cthulhu, what does 2NT show?

In general, when asked about the meaning of a multi-bid, I explain the weak variants and add "or a strong hands". Explaining all the strong options is not helpful to opps. Of course they can ask if they want to know.

Say the overcall was 2. Then I will say "weak with one long minor, or a strong hand".
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#16 User is offline   Lovera 

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Posted 2018-January-25, 10:40

View PostSimonFa, on 2012-January-18, 04:18, said:

I've wanted to understand Lebensohl for a while, not becasue I want to play it, its far too advanced me for my partnerships, but to help with my enjoyment of Vuraph broadcasts, understanding the occasional discussions in the A/E threads that refer to it and so I know what is going on in the unlikely event it comes up at club nights.

I've read a few lot of explanations but quite frankly they were terrible, convoluted and wordy without any context and have always come away frustrated.

So I was very pleased when I found this movie explanationfrom Howard Schutzman AKA BBO nickname "hondo717" on his website. It takes the viewer step by step through the convention in a very easily digestible format.

Bridge would be a lot easier (for me) if all complicated conventions were set out like this.

Perhaps at the end of the year we can have a B/I award for the best online teacher/explanation of conventions and this is my nomination?

Regards,

Simon

PS Posted as an aid to other B/Iers rather than as a general question/discussion.

Indeed, very instructive and with a lot of examples. Bidding is logic and not much complicated. To follow correctly a convention usually can get you good resultings.
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#17 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2018-January-26, 06:42

An alternative Rubensohl approach I prefer is simpler - transfers start with a double, so you can use "system on" at the 2-level. Transfers also apply at the 3-level, and transfer to their suit (or implied defined suit for an astro type, or assumed single suit for an ambiguous suction type of overcall) is a GF 4-card major(s) type hand.

This is handled naturally : opener bids a 4 card major up the line if he has one, else bids 3NT with stops, else completes the transfer by bidding their suit if he needs help in that for NT.

It seems to cater for any hand, and you have your normal methods for invitational or two-suited bids. Simpler than Lebensohl, with the benefit of opener playing the hands.
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#18 User is offline   Lovera 

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Posted 2018-January-28, 05:13

I have also find this one about Lebenshol convention (with a summary and its other useings - go to Lebenshol in the index): http://www.pattayabr...m/convindex.htm
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