Dan Romm

Fixing Lebensohl After a Weak 2-Bid

After a double of a weak two-bid and a pass by LHO, in Lebensohl if responder has a weak hand he bids 2NT (transfer to clubs) and then bids his suit or passes with clubs. This has a big disadvantage in that doubler doesn’t know responder’s real suit. So, doubler is stuck if he has a hand too big to play 3 or if after he bids 3 the two-bidder’s partner now raises (since he won’t know whether to pass, double, or bid a suit at his next turn). These problems are easily solved with the following modification (which my partners have dubbed Rommensohl to distinguish it from modified Lebensohl, which is different). Note: it is assumed that doubler has at least three-card support for any unbid major. Responses to the double:

1. 2NT guarantees clubs.

2. 4 or 4 is natural with a five-card or longer suit and a holding in opener’s suit that calls for responder to play the hand (see note below).

3. With a weak hand bid your suit (if not clubs) at the cheapest level (with one exception, see example g below).

4. With an invitational or better hand bid the suit below your real suit at the 3-level.

a. To reject the invitation doubler merely accepts the transfer at the 3-level.

b. To accept the invitation with a stopper in opener’s suit doubler bids 4 of responder’s suit.

c. To accept the invitation without a stopper in opener’s suit doubler Q-bids opener’s suit after which responder with a four-card suit and a stopper can elect to bid 3NT (if possible, else he bids game in his suit).

5. 3 is an opening bid with no four-card major and no stopper in opener’s suit.

6. 3NT is to play.

Note: with better than an invitational hand, responder can choose which side plays the contract by using either 2 or 4 above. Responder should use 2 with, say, Qx (in case doubler has Ax) or Kx in opener’s suit. With, say, AQx in opener’s suit responder should use 2 with a 5-card suit and use 4 with a four-card suit if there is room to bid 3NT after doubler Q-bids opener’s suit. I should point out one advantage that Lebensohl has over Rommensohl: whenever responder has a mere invitational hand and doubler has no extras the hand will play from doubler’s side in Rommensohl (but not in Lebensohl), which will be disadvantageous if responder’s holding in opener’s suit is, say, Kx (and doubler doesn’t have the Ace or Q) or Qx (and doubler has the Ace). But these occurrences are rare and, I believe, insufficient to offset Rommensohl’s advantages.


a. 2 – X – P – 3 shows both majors.

b. 2 – X – P – 3 is invitational or better with hearts.

c. 2 – X – P – 3 is invitational or better with spades.

d. 2 – X – P – 3 is invitational or better with diamonds.

e. 2 – X – P – 3 is weak with diamonds.

f. 2 – X – P – 3 is invitational or better with spades.

g. 2 – X – P – 3 shows diamonds (could be weak or invitational or better).

h. 2 – X – P – 3 is invitational or better with hearts.

i. 2 – X – P – 3 is weak with hearts.


Nuno FerreiraOctober 14th, 2010 at 8:47 am

Thanks for this interesting variation on Lebensohl over a double of a weak 2.

You mention modified Lebensohl as being different. May I kindly ask if you have a pointer to a description of modified Lebensohl.

Many thanks

Nuno Ferreira

Dan RommJune 17th, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Hi Nuno. Sorry for the late response. Modified Leb is described on P.982 of Bridge Conventions Complete by Amalya Kearse, published May, 1990, by Devyn Press.


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