This concept was devised and developed by Mr. Alvin Landy of Connecticut, United States. This conventional method lays claim to the title of the very first conventional method, which was employed to enter the auction with a weak two-suited holding following a No Trump opening by an opponent.
It is most of the time risky to make an overcall after the right hand opponent has opened the bidding with a No Trump. You do not know the strength of your right hand opponent, and you are guessing that your partner may have something. To remove some of the guesswork, ask about the No Trump range.
The partner of the No Trump bidder could be holding sufficient points for game in No Trump, and he could calculate that a double could bring more points than bidding game. The only two things you know are the strength of the No Trump opening, after asking, and the distribution of your right hand opponent and the strength and distribution of your own hand.
By partnership agreement, the partnership can use the Landy convention in the direct position, the balancing position or both, and may be employed after a strong No Trump opening, a Weak No Trump opening, or a No Trump opening of any range, and/or all of the above. An overcall promises values and/or distributional strength in both Major suits only.
Overcalls, either direct or in the balancing position, should be based either on excellent strength or on excellent distribution. This is practically your only safety net and assurance that you might reach an appropriate contract. An overcall in the balancing position carries more weight than the direct overcall, because it is then known that the responder of the No Trump bidder is weak.
Using Landy after right hand opponent opens the auction with a No Trump bid is a request for a takeout of a Major suit. The Landy treatment starts with a bid of 2. This overcall shows good distribution in the two Major suits, and the length should be at least 4-card support in each Major suit. It is preferable to have an even greater distribution of 5-4 and some players insist on a 5-5 distribution.
The consensus is that the intervenor / overcaller have 15 high card points or fewer. Of course, the vulnerability has a definite influence on deciding whether to overcall or not.
The distributional pattern is a matter of partnership agreement and since some partnerships will overcall with only a 4-4 distribution in both Major suits, or with a 5-4 distribution, these agreements can sometimes be referred to as modified Landy. This action must be considered especially under the aspects of the location of the values, the range of the opened No Trump, and the state of vulnerability.
Note: Many players request that the overcaller have 4-card length in both Major suits, but some partnership agreements demand 5-card length in both Major suits. The Landy convention can be employed either in direct position, in the balancing position, or in both. The greater advantage is the immediate overcall.
Some examples for a distributional pattern follow:
1. Overcaller 2. Overcaller 3. Overcaller 4. Overcaller
AK98 KJ74 A84 54
AQ976 KQ765 Q5 J
QJ1094 QJ1076 93 5
A9865 A10962 6 Q5 2 2 2 Pass
Reviewing the examples above, each example represents a holding that would be appropriate to overcall with 2, except the last example. The importance of these examples is to illustrate the relevancy of the high card points to the strength of the distribution.
Example 1 shows that additional high card point values are necessary in order to make such an overcall; the same is true of Example 2.
In Example 3 the holding contains only 6 points, but has the distributional strength with the strength located in the two Major suits, which adds up to about 4-5 playing tricks.
In Example 4, however, the number of playing tricks amount to about three, making this holding less attractive even with 10 high card points.
The strength of the hand is a different matter. One partnership agreement is that the Landy bidder should have at least 13 total points in high card points and distributional points. Other partnership agreements require that the Landy overcaller have no more than 15 high card points. Other partnership agreements include the provision that the strength can be less if the length is the main determining factor combined with the number of working values in the two Major suits plus the number of Losing Tricks.
What should the responder do after the partner has initiated Landy? Since there are no standardized responses to a Landy bid, each partnership using this treatment may / might / could establish their own responses. Mr. Alvin Landy, the person who devised this treatment, method or convention, encouraged the following recommendations.
Pass: Shows a weak holding, poor support in either Major suit, and a long Club suit of at least 6 cards. 2 : Shows a weak holding, poor support in either Major suit, and a long Diamond suit of at least 6 cards. 2 : Shows weak values, a preference for Hearts and at least a 3-card Heart suit. 2 : Shows weak values, a preference for Spades and at least a 3-card Spade suit. 2 NT: A one-round forcing bid asking intervenor for the better Major suit. Note: some partnerships have agreed to employ this first response as natural and employ the 3 first response as one-round forcing asking intervenor for the better Major suit. 3 : An artificial response, which is game forcing. Asks partner to name better Major suit. Promises additional values and excellent support in either Major suit; some partnerships require at least 4 cards in both Major suits. 3 : A natural bid promising an excellent Diamond suit and additional values as opposed to only a 2 first response. 3 : Shows a preference for the Heart suit with at least a 3 cards support. Distribution is unbalanced but the values are located in both Major suits. Invitational. 3 : Shows a preference for the Spade suit with at least a 3 cards support. Distribution is unbalanced but the values are located in both Major suits. Invitational. Possible Extensions 4 : To play. 4 : To play.
Note: The first response of 2 by the advancer, as per partnership agreement, may be employed as a temporizing bid showing adequate support for either Major suit so that the intervenor can further clarify his holding regarding the values held. For example, a rebid by the intervenor of 2 or 2 may be used to show minimum values as opposed to the rebids of 3 or 3 to show additional values.
An extension to the Landy convention was suggested by Mr. Ira Rubin in 1947. The overcall or takeout bid of 2 Clubs was applied as in the Landy convention, but is applied after a response or rebid of 1 No Trump after a suit opening. This overcall of 2 Clubs under these circumstances implies/promises more distribution and less strength than a double. It also applies in the Pass Out Seat or Balancing Seat.
The bid of 2 Clubs by North promises five or more Clubs and exactly four Hearts, and this implication is based on the original pass of North and his failure to overcall immediately. Mr. Martin Cohn developed this concept further for other similar applications.
A slight alteration to the original concept was proposed by Mr. Edwin Kantar. He suggested the following variation for the overcaller / intervenor:
2 : Shows a Major two-suited holding - Spades and Hearts. 2 : Shows a Red two-suited holding - Hearts and Diamonds. Double: This overcall is penalty-oriented. Other: All other overcalls are natural.
A second, subtle modification of the original Landy conventional method was proposed by Mr. Michel Lebed of France (born in Romania). The original conventional method did not include any meaning to a double after a No Trump opening by the opponents. Mr. Michel Lebed suggested that a double be included to indicate a two-suited holding of on one unspecified Major suit and one unspecified Minor suit. Otherwise the two concepts are the same.
A third modification of the original Landy conventional method has been proposed by the Bridge Club de Paris, which follows:
Double: Shows a two-suited holding identifying Hearts as one suit and an unspecified Minor suit. 2 : Show a two-suited holding identifying Spades as one suit and an unspecified Minor suit.
The response by the advancer to discover the unspecified Minor suit is generally a matter of partnership agreement. Some partnerships employ the relay bid of 2 Clubs, whereupon the intervenor could pass if Clubs is the Minor suit or correct to Diamonds. This relay bid denies any 3-card support in Hearts.
In order to discover the Minor suit after a 2 Diamonds overcall, the advancer could again employ the relay bid of 2 Hearts with weaker values (or 2 No Trump with stronger values) to discover the identity of the Minor suit. This action also denies any 3-card support for Spades.
See also: Multi Landy and Variations
If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.