Advancing a Double of a Two-Bid

Neither side vulnerable
The bidding has gone:

2 DoublePass

In Bridge World Standard 1984, advancer's actions when partner doubles a weak two-bid are governed to a great extent by the lebensohl convention. If advancer bids two notrump, doubler is expected to bid three clubs with any normal-strength hand. Advancer may then pass at three clubs, or convert to three of a suit below opener's to show a weak hand. As a corollary, if advancer bids three of a suit directly that promises moderate values (though less than the values for a jump or cue-bid). Other rebids by the two-notrump bidder are left for individual partnership clarification, but the basic principle usually applied is "directly shows more."

As South, what call do you make with each of the following:

(a) 10 8 7 4   J 5 2   4   J 9 6 4 2

(b) 10 8 7   J 5 2   4 2   Q 9 6 4 2

(c) A 8 7   J 5 2   4 2   Q 9 6 4 2

(d) A 8 7   K 5 2   4 2   Q 9 6 4 2

(e) A J 7   K 5 2   K 2   Q 9 6 4 2

(f) J 8 7   A K 10   K 2   Q 10 9 6 4


10 8 7 4   J 5 2   4   J 9 6 4 2

(a) Two spades. If the opening had been two spades you would bid two notrump, intending to pass partner at three clubs. Here, however, you should take advantage of the economy of naming a decent suit at the two level.

10 8 7   J 5 2   4 2   Q 9 6 4 2

(b) Two notrump. Here the lebensohl technique is useful. Your two-notrump response warns partner that you have a bad hand (unless you later take aggressive action on your own). How bad does a hand have to be to be bad? There is no official requirement, but a decent guideline is that a hand qualifies for the weak sequence if it contains under partner's expectation of six points or so.

A 8 7   J 5 2   4 2   Q 9 6 4 2

(c) Three clubs. Using the guideline in the previous answer, this is a respectable three-club bid. You have roughly what partner was hoping to hit to survive, if he doubled with a minimum. The advantage of being able to distinguish between hands (b) and (c) is that partner gets some guidance if he is contemplating further action.

A 8 7   K 5 2   4 2   Q 9 6 4 2

(d) Three clubs. Before lebensohl became popular, this hand was a two-notrump advance, showing values plus at least a little something in hearts, and leaving the next move to partner. With the current method, you do not have this descriptive bid available; you must do the best you can. That is not too painful here, since you have a suit to show and a vehicle to indicate moderate strength.

A J 7   K 5 2   K 2   Q 9 6 4 2

(e) Two notrump. Although you have no guarantee that game will be makable, you have far too much strength to play at a partial. Three notrump seems most likely from your hand, but you have only one heart stopper and a suit full of holes. You can show doubt about which game to choose by reaching three notrump slowly, first bidding two notrump, then converting the expected three clubs to three notrump.

J 8 7   A K 10   K 2   Q 10 9 6 4

(f) Three notrump. Your overall strength and prospects are about the same as with (e), but this time you can be fairly certain that your side's best game prospects lie in three notrump. You can express this opinion with a direct jump, suggesting solid heart stops. The advantage of using the technique suggested with (e) and (f) appears when partner has a hand such as,

Q x x x   x   A Q J x   K J x x

(Adapted from "Rate Your Own Game" in The Bridge World.)


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