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Gib and Lebensohl

#1 User is offline   Bermy 

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Posted 2017-September-06, 23:41

"After an overcall of a 1NT opening[edit]
Lebensohl can be initiated by responder after partner has opened 1NT and right hand opponent (RHO) has overcalled with a suit bid at the two level:

Responder’s Bid Meaning and Subsequent Bidding
2 of a higher ranking suit than overcaller’s Natural and non-forcing.
2NT A puppet bid (sometimes incorrectly called a “relay bid”), requiring opener to bid 3♣. After opener’s forced 3♣ bid:
3 of a lower ranking suit than overcaller’s is natural, to play.
3 of a higher ranking suit than overcaller’s is natural and invitational.
3 of overcaller’s suit is artificial: like Stayman, it asks opener to bid a 4-card major, but it also shows† a stopper in overcaller’s suit.
3NT is natural, to play, and shows† a stopper in overcaller’s suit.
3 of a suit other than overcaller’s Natural, forcing to game.
3 of overcaller’s suit Artificial: like Stayman, it asks opener to bid a 4-card major, but it also denies† a stopper in overcaller’s suit.
3NT Natural, to play, and denies† a stopper in overcaller’s suit.
†These explanations assume the partnership has agreed that “slow shows”, i.e., that the slower sequences, which start with 2NT, show a stopper in overcaller’s suit, while the more direct sequences deny a stopper. It is also possible to agree the reverse—that “slow denies”, in which case the sequences which start with 2NT deny a stopper and the more direct sequences show one.
Double of the overcall[edit]
A Double by responder is not part of Lebensohl. However it forms part of the entire set of bids available to responder and its meaning is the subject of a partnership agreement. Usually its meaning is, in turn, dependent upon the meaning of the overcall and the meaning of the overcall can vary widely because there are a number of conventional systems available to an overcaller after a 1NT opening.

Generally, a Double is for penalty. When the overcall is in a suit held by the overcaller, the double shows a decent non-game forcing hand with a four-card or very good three-card holding in the suit specified. It is for penalty (not game forcing) but opener may choose to bid 3NT based on information now or later available. When the overcall is in a suit, which by partnership agreement specifies another suit or suits, the Double is for takeout indicating that responder holds a minimum of something like AKxxx, AQJxx or KQJxx in the doubled suit.

Other applications[edit]
After a Weak-two[edit]
After a Weak-two opening and a takeout double, Lebensohl is used to enable a better indication of the strength of the responder to the doubler.

For example, after (2♠) – Dbl – (P):

With 0-7 points 2NT is bid forcing a relay of 3♣. This is either passed or corrected to another suit.
With 8-11 points suits are bid at the 3 level.
With values for game it is bid.
If there is space to bid a suit at the 2 level; e.g. after (2♥) – Dbl – (P) and the suit held is spades:

With 0-7 points bid 2♠
With 8-11 points 2NT is bid forcing a relay of 3♣. Then 3♠ is bid showing the invite.
3♠ is now game forcing.
With a very strong hand the doubler can by-pass 3♣.

After a major is raised to the two level[edit]
The same scheme can be played after the sequence: (1M) – P – (2M) – Dbl; (P) – ? or (1M) – Dbl – (2M) – ?

After a non-game-forcing reverse[edit]
After the sequence 1♦ – (P) – 1♠ – (P); 2♥ – (P) – ?:

2♠ shows a weak hand with spades
2NT shows a minimum hand and forces 3♣. Preference is usually then given for openers suits.
Any other bid is now game forcing.
This has the effect of saving space when responder wants to force game and show support." Wiki

This is one I cannot get my head around. After years of arguing with partners, and watching opps argue with each other, I always prefer this convention to be "off"

It is extremely complicated, hard to learn, and often missed or mistaken to be a natural bid.

It appears to me that it really exists in order to punish with a punitive double, should the opponants make a poor bid. Gib does not understand that, and therefore makes the whole convention useless and unnecessary. One is better off bidding naturally.
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#2 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 08:36

Lebensohl really has nothing to do with punishing opponents with a double. There are a lot of sequences, but if you understand the rationale, it's really not that hard and there is logic to it.

The main reason for the gadget is strength range clarification in a cramped auction. Opps have bid 2s. How do you differentiate between hands that want to just compete for the partial in a suit (and do NOT want partner to bid on), that are weaker in context, vs stronger hands that want to force game (or invite in some cases). You can't do this without Lebensohl. If you just bid naturally, you can't compete on some hands (when used over 1nt), or you give partner a huge range to guess over (after takeout double of weak two, partner doesn't know whether you have 7- pts and possibly zero or have 9/10 but not quite worth bidding game).

Lebensohl just means you bid 2nt first with the weaker range.

The secondary reason over 1nt is to clarify the stopper situation. Otherwise responder bids 3nt, opps run 6 spade tricks, both partners say I hoped you had the stopper. Most people bid 2nt first before either 3nt or cue bid stayman to show the stop, so opener knows he doesn't need one in 3nt after these sequences, but does over the direct route.
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#3 User is offline   Bermy 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 14:01

View PostStephen Tu, on 2017-September-07, 08:36, said:

Lebensohl really has nothing to do with punishing opponents with a double. There are a lot of sequences, but if you understand the rationale, it's really not that hard and there is logic to it.

The main reason for the gadget is strength range clarification in a cramped auction. Opps have bid 2s. How do you differentiate between hands that want to just compete for the partial in a suit (and do NOT want partner to bid on), that are weaker in context, vs stronger hands that want to force game (or invite in some cases). You can't do this without Lebensohl. If you just bid naturally, you can't compete on some hands (when used over 1nt), or you give partner a huge range to guess over (after takeout double of weak two, partner doesn't know whether you have 7- pts and possibly zero or have 9/10 but not quite worth bidding game).

Lebensohl just means you bid 2nt first with the weaker range.

The secondary reason over 1nt is to clarify the stopper situation. Otherwise responder bids 3nt, opps run 6 spade tricks, both partners say I hoped you had the stopper. Most people bid 2nt first before either 3nt or cue bid stayman to show the stop, so opener knows he doesn't need one in 3nt after these sequences, but does over the direct route.

yes I get that, I have played before.

If we open 1NT and opps make a poor overcall, what is the point of any convention that does not allow me to double them for penalty really? It really is a poor convention, bidding naturally and properly will have the same effect I assure you. Leb never helped me with anything, rather it places me too often in a poor suit contract, when NT was a better option, and doubling them was the best option? You you also need to rethink about when a take out double is take out and when a double is penalty. Perhaps a simple 2 level take out and 3 level penalty would be better.
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#4 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 14:46

You aren't making any sense. Lebensohl doesn't prevent you at all from defending, whether doubled or not. The meaning of double is up to partnership agreement, can still be penalty, independent of the meaning of 2nt Lebensohl. Playing leb never forces you not to double!


The only thing leb sacrifices is playing exactly 2nt. People have figured out that this is worth giving up, because exactly 2nt is a high risk low reward spot. If it makes 3 you wanted to stretch to 3 or defend doubled. If it goes down 1 you might have gone plus defending. The only time you really are happy is if it makes exactly two, and this scores better than defending, a narrow target.


Meanwhile without playing Lebensohl you don't have the option of showing both say 5 hearts and a game force, vs a weaker hand with 6+ hearts or 5 good ones that wants to compete to 3h, thinking probably 3, might be down 1, better than defending 2s, might push opps to 3s down 1, but really don't want partner to try 4h. Same thing for competing in long minor suits which can probably make 3m but not 3nt since you need trumps to stop the opps from running their suit.
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#5 User is offline   Bermy 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 14:53

View PostStephen Tu, on 2017-September-07, 14:46, said:

You aren't making any sense. Lebensohl doesn't prevent you at all from defending, whether doubled or not. The meaning of double is up to partnership agreement, can still be penalty, independent of the meaning of 2nt Lebensohl. Playing leb never forces you not to double!


The only thing leb sacrifices is playing exactly 2nt. People have figured out that this is worth giving up, because exactly 2nt is a high risk low reward spot. If it makes 3 you wanted to stretch to 3 or defend doubled. If it goes down 1 you might have gone plus defending. The only time you really are happy is if it makes exactly two, and this scores better than defending, a narrow target.


Meanwhile without playing Lebensohl you don't have the option of showing both say 5 hearts and a game force, vs a weaker hand with 6+ hearts or 5 good ones that wants to compete to 3h, thinking probably 3, might be down 1, better than defending 2s, might push opps to 3s down 1, but really don't want partner to try 4h. Same thing for competing in long minor suits which can probably make 3m but not 3nt since you need trumps to stop the opps from running their suit
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Yes, as I said "complicated and hard to learn" and usually not worth the reward. You know I once had a strong partner who gave me same or similar argument. This convention causes more argument than any other so carry on. When a few hands later he missed the leb, I knew it was time to find a new partner.
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#6 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 15:08

Have found that Lebensohl makes bidding far simpler and far more likely to get you to the right contract than without it. And when GIB has explanations of all bids, you have no excuse for finding it too difficult. Definitely one of the better parts of the GIB system.
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#7 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 15:14

Strong partner who forgets lebensohl? Doesn't compute, partner not strong IMO, unless an ancient dinosaur rubber only player. Also weird if he was the one to suggest playing the gadget then promptly forgets it. It's not hard to remember that 2nt in competition is artificial. 2nt in comp natural at top levels is practically extinct except for a few specific sequences.

Also, none of this explains at all your nonsense about how it makes you not able to double opponents.
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#8 User is offline   Bermy 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 15:27

Perhaps one of the reasons it fails is that it appears to be 2 conventions combined into one, occurring in different situations. confusing?
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#9 User is offline   Bermy 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 15:41

View Postsmerriman, on 2017-September-07, 15:08, said:

Have found that Lebensohl makes bidding far simpler and far more likely to get you to the right contract than without it. And when GIB has explanations of all bids, you have no excuse for finding it too difficult. Definitely one of the better parts of the GIB system.


I really am not trying to make excuses here. I have no motive for that. I am merely trying to make a point about 2/1 bidding in general, and how it is managed by Gib.
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#10 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 15:42

I wouldn't argue with the notion that they should have named the convention after a weak two doubled something else. As it is we have "Lebensohl" (over 1nt, original), "Lebensohl after weak two doubled", and "Lebensohl after reverses". There's even more uses, but most people call the other one "good-bad 2nt".

I do remember a recent tournament a few months ago where a weak opp was hopelessly confused about how it applied after a weak two.

The situations can be learned separately and independently, people play one but not the other.
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#11 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 15:58

Also 2/1 is a separate issue from the use of Lebensohl or not either after nt opening or over weak two doubled.

Just as it is completely independent of Drury or not as you were weirdly arguing about in another thread. (Drury is only a gadget to cater to opening light in 3rd or 4th chair. It is perfectly possible to just not open light, or accept that you'll occasionally get a level too high if you open light and partner has an invite. 2/1 in no way necessitates drury)

It is perfectly possible to play 2/1 without any of these 3 gadgets, or just one, or just two. Just as it is possible to play SA non 2/1 with or without any of these gadgets.

It is just that gib plays 2/1 and all 3, which matches most non beginner tournament players in the U.S. This may not be your preference, but I do think it is the majority of BBO member preference. Would it be nice if it were optional and you could pick and choose gadgets from a menu? Sure. But it is unrealistic. There are a ton of worse bugs described in other threads on this forum, e.g. the broken responding to takeout doubles, weird ducking on defense things, that are far more important to fix first. Adding options just multiplies workload a ton because not only do you need to implement gadget, but all follow-ups, and all changes to meanings and priorities of other natural bids due to use or not of gadget. Plus defense to gadget, plus changes to followups if competition after gadget. Would you be willing to say pay triple the cost per game so that bbo could afford to hire more staff to implement your desires for more system options?
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#12 User is offline   Bermy 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 16:26

View PostStephen Tu, on 2017-September-07, 15:58, said:

Also 2/1 is a separate issue from the use of Lebensohl or not either after nt opening or over weak two doubled.

Just as it is completely independent of Drury or not as you were weirdly arguing about in another thread. (Drury is only a gadget to cater to opening light in 3rd or 4th chair. It is perfectly possible to just not open light, or accept that you'll occasionally get a level too high if you open light and partner has an invite. 2/1 in no way necessitates drury)

It is perfectly possible to play 2/1 without any of these 3 gadgets, or just one, or just two. Just as it is possible to play SA non 2/1 with or without any of these gadgets.

It is just that gib plays 2/1 and all 3, which matches most non beginner tournament players in the U.S. This may not be your preference, but I do think it is the majority of BBO member preference. Would it be nice if it were optional and you could pick and choose gadgets from a menu? Sure. But it is unrealistic. There are a ton of worse bugs described in other threads on this forum, e.g. the broken responding to takeout doubles, weird ducking on defense things, that are far more important to fix first. Adding options just multiplies workload a ton because not only do you need to implement gadget, but all follow-ups, and all changes to meanings and priorities of other natural bids due to use or not of gadget. Plus defense to gadget, plus changes to followups if competition after gadget. Would you be willing to say pay triple the cost per game so that bbo could afford to hire more staff to implement your desires for more system options?


It is perfectly possible to play 2/1 without leb.
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#13 User is offline   Bermy 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 16:29

Perhaps one of the reasons it fails is that it really appears to be 2 completely different conventions combined into one. One for your strong No Trump opening and one for Pre-empts. Therefore one cannot generalize any argument. Simply because the club bid is artificial, does not blend the convention like Staymen does. It is not even named after anybody, read wiki on that.

I am not saying it cannot work, I am the saying result does not justify the effort. It is a poorly written convention that should be separated anyway. Its is an option one can live without.
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#14 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 16:55

View PostBermy, on 2017-September-07, 16:29, said:


I am not saying it cannot work, I am the saying result does not justify the effort. It is a poorly written convention that should be separated anyway. Its is an option one can live without.

That's only your idiosyncratic opinion not shared by the vast majority of higher level bridge players. Most of us find it very useful. Ton of other gadgets I'd rather sacrifice before Leb. BBO should cater to the majority not just you.

Also it's the 2nt bid that is artificial, not really 3c in response. 1nt bidder or takeout doubler is expected to have a few clubs.
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#15 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 17:02

View PostBermy, on 2017-September-07, 16:29, said:

Perhaps one of the reasons it fails is that it really appears to be 2 completely different conventions combined into one. One for your strong No Trump opening and one for Pre-empts. Therefore one cannot generalize any argument. Simply because the club bid is artificial, does not blend the convention like Staymen does. It is not even named after anybody, read wiki on that.


Not named for anybody? Why does it matter if almost every top expert plays a version of it (including the transfer version)?

I'm surprised you aren't familiar with lebensohl since Bidding Theory shows up as an interest below your name in posts. You might ask yourself why you seem to be the odd man out on this convention. At the simplest, lebensohl is about as easy to learn as any convention and the potential gains are substantial. The fact that you can use it after both interference over 1NT, and weak 2 bids makes it doubly efficient.
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#16 User is offline   Bermy 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 17:04

There is no point in being result driven here, as I didnt produce any hands.

Sure it works on some hands, mostly I find for poor results with players really, however if I want to play with the house I must play the house way, so the results are inconsequential anyway. With Gib I don't have choice.

Gib is really not allowing us to double for penalties, when opps make a poor overcall after 1 No openning. Responder is now the controlling hand, why are we not getting the penalty double we deserve, rather than wasting our time and effort with all this drivel about a convention named after who?

Go on, argue your leb, I bet this one goes on for ever.
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#17 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 17:18

(ignore, Stephen Tu said it better anyway)
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#18 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 17:25

Your complaint about the double has zero to do with leb, why are you complaining about Leb when the issue is totally independent? Your complaint is that it is playing neg doubles instead of penalty doubles. You can collect a penalty potentially by passing and hoping for a reopening double, just like when playing neg doubles over suit openings.

Doesn't always work, opener may not have appropriate hand to reopen, but sometimes undoubled penalty is good enough. Some vuls you can just drive to 3nt instead.

Whether to play neg or penalty is controversial over 1nt, to some extent depends how crazy your typical opps are. Neg doubles let you find suit fits and compete more, and also let you penalize when it is opener rather than responder with the stack.

Of course against gib with its nutty 4cd capp calls, penalty doubles might be better, but to me fixing capp is higher priority separate issue.

But again, what the hell does this have to do with leb?
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#19 User is offline   Bermy 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 17:54

[quote name='johnu' timestamp='1504825324' post='932578']
Not named for anybody? Why does it matter if almost every top expert plays a version of it (including the transfer version)?

I'm surprised you aren't familiar with lebensohl since Bidding Theory shows up as an interest below your name in posts. You might ask yourself why you seem to be the odd man out on this

I am most familiar with leb (pardon the spelling) why do you think I have raised the subject? And if argument is not part of bidding theory, why have theory at all?
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#20 User is offline   Bermy 

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Posted 2017-September-07, 18:36

View PostStephen Tu, on 2017-September-07, 17:25, said:

Your complaint about the double has zero to do with leb, why are you complaining about Leb when the issue is totally independent? Your complaint is that it is playing neg doubles instead of penalty doubles. You can collect a penalty potentially by passing and hoping for a reopening double, just like when playing neg doubles over suit openings.

Doesn't always work, opener may not have appropriate hand to reopen, but sometimes undoubled penalty is good enough. Some vuls you can just drive to 3nt instead.

Whether to play neg or penalty is controversial over 1nt, to some extent depends how crazy your typical opps are. Neg doubles let you find suit fits and compete more, and also let you penalize when it is opener rather than responder with the stack.

Of course against gib with its nutty 4cd capp calls, penalty doubles might be better, but to me fixing capp is higher priority separate issue.

But again, what the hell does this have to do with leb?


Oh for goodness sakes and you guys are the logical programmers?

This is the sequence of events that occur after the 1NT opening. (leaving the pre-empts out of it) All other parts of 2/1 is now inconsequential.

Should opps pass.......Staymen rules and Jacoby Transfers etc, universal conventions that work and work well.

Should opps bid, they have conventions too, Now everything changes, all depending on what they bid and how well they are bidding it.

Now leb comes into play. leb is an option that one chooses to use if one is playing it. However the controlling partner( the guy that didnt open) who knows that he is playing with 15-17 hcp and cards in every suit, must place the contract at its best location. How can doubling the opps at this point for punitive reasons not be an option, surely? So indeed this is all part of one the conventions and the system.
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