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Responding to 1NT over their natural 2C overcall

#1 User is offline   JLilly 

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Posted 2018-September-25, 16:22

Hi all, my partner and I play 15–17 1NT, and fast-denies Lebensohl over 2+ interference. We aren't sure how to treat a natural or DONT overcall of 2.

Some people ignore the overcall, using X for Stayman and otherwise systems on. This seem suboptimal, since now you know that their strength is over your strength, and game is less likely for you than it would be otherwise.

The standard Lebensohl treatment but applied over the 2 overcall doesn't quite work, since responder can't go through the 2N-3 puppet to show "Stayman with a stopper".

Would it make any sense to play a sort of hybrid of Lebensohl and systems-on?: 2R is a transfer to 2M; 2N is a transfer to diamonds (we play four-way transfers). X is penalty per Lebensohl (and should it promise a stopper in C, as part of the basis for penalizing them?). 2 is now idle, since without interference it would be a transfer to clubs. We thus have 2 and 3 available as cuebids. 2 as inv+, shows a stopper; 3 as GF, denies a stopper.

Is there an advanced/expert standard treatment? Thanks!
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#2 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2018-September-25, 16:46

If you want to play penalty doubles, then this is fine. The only problem is that with an invitational hand with four of a major, it doesn't work do well. Without a stopper you have no bid and with a stopper, the fit can get lost if opener has a minimum.

I think most people just play system on, but of course the 2 (transfer to clubs) is meaningless, then. Maybe you should retain 2 as transfer to clubs just in case they have forgotten their system and 2 was actually meant as Landy or something? You could also use double and 2 as two different Staymans (with and without a club stopper).

If you want penalty doubles and also a way to show a four card major, maybe you can put the Stayman hands into 2/NT and use 3 as transfer to diamonds. Invitational hands without a 4-card major and without long diamonds will probably make a penalty double so you don't need to cater to them.

If you want to use 2NT as transfer to diamonds, should the super-accept show a club stopper?

Just some random thoughts :)
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#3 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-September-26, 12:17

View PostJLilly, on 2018-September-25, 16:22, said:

Hi all, my partner and I play 15–17 1NT, and fast-denies Lebensohl over 2+ interference. We aren't sure how to treat a natural or DONT overcall of 2.

Some people ignore the overcall, using X for Stayman and otherwise systems on. This seem suboptimal, since now you know that their strength is over your strength, and game is less likely for you than it would be otherwise.

The standard Lebensohl treatment but applied over the 2 overcall doesn't quite work, since responder can't go through the 2N-3 puppet to show "Stayman with a stopper".

Would it make any sense to play a sort of hybrid of Lebensohl and systems-on?: 2R is a transfer to 2M; 2N is a transfer to diamonds (we play four-way transfers). X is penalty per Lebensohl (and should it promise a stopper in C, as part of the basis for penalizing them?). 2 is now idle, since without interference it would be a transfer to clubs. We thus have 2 and 3 available as cuebids. 2 as inv+, shows a stopper; 3 as GF, denies a stopper.

Is there an advanced/expert standard treatment? Thanks!


There's nothing terribly wrong with ignoring the overcall, especially if it is artificial; keeping systems on is effective and low-level transfers will put the interferer on lead. But yes, it's not great against natural clubs or when really weak.


Rubensohl is a standard treatment that solves this (and other) problems. I like it because one can show suit immediately even with a non game forcing hand.
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#4 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2018-September-26, 16:27

View Postpescetom, on 2018-September-26, 12:17, said:

There's nothing terribly wrong with ignoring the overcall, especially if it is artificial; keeping systems on is effective and low-level transfers will put the interferer on lead. But yes, it's not great against natural clubs or when really weak.

I would say that system on is fine especially when 2 is natural an potentially very weak. You want to stay in your system when opps can be weak so you still need all the tool you have for game and slam exploration. And when 2 is natural, it is nice to put overcaller on lead.

But yes, having a way to play 2 would be nice also.
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#5 User is offline   msjennifer 

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Posted 2018-September-27, 00:57

Play LEBENSOHL.
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#6 User is online   P_Marlowe 

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Posted 2018-September-27, 02:26

View PostJLilly, on 2018-September-25, 16:22, said:

<snip>
The standard Lebensohl treatment but applied over the 2 overcall doesn't quite work, since responder can't go through the 2N-3 puppet to show "Stayman with a stopper".
<snip>

#1 Why?

View PostJLilly, on 2018-September-25, 16:22, said:

<snip>
Is there an advanced/expert standard treatment? Thanks!
<snip>


#2 I would say playing X as T/O, if the overcalled suit was real in combination with 2NT Lebensohl, is certainly an
advanced/expert standard treatment.
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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#7 User is offline   JLilly 

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Posted 2018-October-06, 14:00

Cool, thanks for the input, ppl!
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#8 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2018-October-08, 22:22

I would just use 2NT followed by 3 as my “slow” way. You do lose one of your three ways to bid diamonds. And takeout doubles.
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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#9 User is offline   msjennifer 

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Posted 2018-October-09, 00:07

Sir, 1) if the 2C by RHO is natural we double to use the double as Stayman for majors. A 2D/H/S is to play. 2)If the 2C is Landy for major and if one has a GF hand we bid a major suit to show a guard in that major.With a guard in both the majors we use the Double to show that.This leaves the option of a 2NT bid so as to play in 3C . .A 2D bid is to play.An invitational 3D hand is shown by going via 2NT. We have found that this way we can cover most of the responding hands.On all other hands we play a waiting game by PASS.
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#10 User is online   P_Marlowe 

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Posted 2018-October-10, 03:02

View Postmsjennifer, on 2018-October-09, 00:07, said:

Sir, 1) if the 2C by RHO is natural we double to use the double as Stayman for majors. A 2D/H/S is to play. 2)If the 2C is Landy for major and if one has a GF hand we bid a major suit to show a guard in that major.With a guard in both the majors we use the Double to show that.This leaves the option of a 2NT bid so as to play in 3C . .A 2D bid is to play.An invitational 3D hand is shown by going via 2NT. We have found that this way we can cover most of the responding hands.On all other hands we play a waiting game by PASS.

#1 If you use a double of a natural 2C as Stayman, than you basically play, that the double is T/O.
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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#11 User is offline   msjennifer 

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Posted 2018-October-11, 00:04

View PostP_Marlowe, on 2018-October-10, 03:02, said:

#1 If you use a double of a natural 2C as Stayman, than you basically play, that the double is T/O.

Sir,Yes.It is a T/O double .The advantage ,as I indicated therein, is it allows responder to play in natural "TO PLAY" bids of 2 D/H/S.Of course this has the negligible disadvantage of being unable to penalise the natural 2C call by RHO.
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#12 User is online   P_Marlowe 

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Posted 2018-October-11, 03:26

View Postmsjennifer, on 2018-October-11, 00:04, said:

Sir,Yes.It is a T/O double .The advantage ,as I indicated therein, is it allows responder to play in natural "TO PLAY" bids of 2 D/H/S.Of course this has the negligible disadvantage of being unable to penalise the natural 2C call by RHO.

It is certainly only a matter of naming, but the reason I would call the X of a natural 2C T/O rather than Stayman is, that
calling the double Stayman comes close to the term "stolen doubles", an approach, I would not use.
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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#13 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2018-October-13, 08:16

Playing "system on" is an excellent treatment, with X meaning "I would have bid that", to any natural overcall.
If 2 (eg) uninterrupted is a transfer to hearts, then so it is after an overcall. If 2 is stayman, then double after (2) is "I would have bid that". You still have transfers to all 4 suits.

View Posthelene_t, on 2018-September-25, 16:46, said:

I think most people just play system on, but of course the 2 (transfer to clubs) is meaningless ...


A transfer to their suit is made with a game strength hand with a four card major (or both majors). You do not want to X (ie Stayman) and let partner flounder and pass when 4th seat bids (3), as you need to let him know of your strength and shape. Uninterrupted he completes the transfer (bids 3 here) to deny club stops, and now you both bid 4 card suits upwards (majors of course, but also diamonds if you want - very useful as a possible escape if there is no major fit and insufficient stops for NT). If he does not complete the transfer, therefore showing stops, he bids 4 card suits upwards, or 3NT if he does not have one. If he bids 3 and your only major is hearts, you bid 3NT as he has shown a stop.

If 4th seat bids (3) then on the same principle, a double from him could have the standard meaning of "I was going to bid that", and you bid exactly as you would without the interruption, but it makes sense for bids now to show stops "happy in 3NT" as before, and pass to replace the 3 bid without stops, while double is out and out penalty. If he passes, you have the option of doubling for penalty.

Transfers are much better than Lebensohl.

JLilly said:

... using X for Stayman and otherwise systems on. This seem suboptimal, since now you know that their strength is over your strength, and game is less likely for you than it would be otherwise.


On the contrary, because when you do not have game it is vital to show/play in your suit, and all the more reason to transfer to make the presumably stronger opponent lead away from his hand.
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