The Rubinsohl Convention allows the responder to employ a transfer immediately following an overcall. This conventional defense method uses the combination of transfer bids and lebensohl in competitive auctions. In many circles and schools of thought this conventional method is strongly presumed to be and extension of the traditional lebensohl conventional method.

This method was introduced by Mr. Bruce Graham Neill in an article in The Bridge World in the issue of May 1983, Volume 54, Number 8. Mr. Bruce Neill was born January 20, 1948, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. As of 2013-2014 Mr. Bruce G. Neill is the Rules and Ethics Appeals ABF Delegate for the New South Wales Bridge Association.

The concept is presented in the articles published in the same magazine by Mr. Jeff Rubens, who used the term Rubensohl. The concept had been used previously in the United States by Mr. Ira Rubin, and therefore the name Rubinsohl, not Rubensohl. However, both spellings refer to the identical conventional method.

     

Concept of Transfer Bids

Note: These conventional bids allow the responder to show the distribution of the holding, which may contain either weak or strong values.

Note: This conventional method permits the opener, who is assumed to hold stronger values, to become the declarer if declaring the contract.

Note: Transfer bids to opponents' suit shows a 4-card Major in the bid suit (Stayman) and a strong interest in a game contract. Regular and experienced players employing the Rubinsohl convention find the most profitable treatment of responder's double as a generalized takeout double rather than the penalty double found in the lebensohl conventional method.

Note: A partnership agreement is necessary in order to show (and possibly deny) stopper(s) in the bid or intended suit of the opponent. The generally accepted guideline is to agree to play either the so-called FASS (Fast Arrival Shows Stopper) or SASS (Slow Arrival Shows Stopper). For example, if the agreement is FASS, then the player shows a stopper.

Employment of the Concept

The following chart presents the foundation of the conventional defense method following an immediate overcall by the next player in rotation. Such defense bids are made by the responder of the opener. This transfer method may be employed after a No Trump opening bid, an opening in a suit, and even after a Weak Two bid, followed immediately by a competitive bid.

Note: it is important to remember that the conventional defense method called Rubinsohl only takes effect starting with a first response of 2 No Trump. This means that a natural 2 No Trump bid by the responder following immediate competition is not possible to show invitational game values.

Note: if the opening bid is 1 No Trump, then the immediate player in rotation can compete with a bid of 2 Clubs, 2 Diamonds, 2 Hearts, and/or 2 Spades in advance of the responder. If the competitive bid is made in any suit, then the responder can take another action to describe his holding, excluding the bid of 2 No Trump, which initiates the Rubinsohl conventional method.

The first schematic of defensive responses reflects the bids of the responder following a competitive overcall following a 1 No Trump opening bid.

Opener

 

Overcaller

 

Responder

  Meaning
1 NT           Range per partnership agreement.
    2   Double   The double by the responder is a penalty double. The opener must pass.
    2   Double   The double by the responder is a penalty double. The opener must pass.
    2   Double   The double by the responder is a penalty double. The opener must pass.
    2   Double   The double by the responder is a penalty double. The opener must pass.
             
Opener   Overcall   Responder    
1 NT           Range per partnership agreement.
    2        
        Double   The double by the responder is a penalty double. The opener must pass.
        2   To play. The opener must pass.
        2   To play. The opener must pass.
             
Opener   Overcaller   Responder   Meaning
1 NT           Range per partnership agreement.
    2        
        Double   The double by the responder is a penalty double. The opener must pass.
        2   To play. The opener must pass.
             
Opener   Overcaller   Responder   Meaning
1 NT           Range per partnership agreement.
    2        
        Double   The double by the responder is a penalty double. The opener must pass.
             
Opener   Overcaller   Responder   Meaning
1 NT           Range per partnership agreement.
    2 //       The meaning of the overcall should be known.
        3   This first response by the responder is generally played as the Stayman convention, asking for a 4-card Major suit. The continuations are as follows:
              Opener Meaning
              3 : Denies a 4-card Major suit; denies a stopper in the opponent's suit.
              3 : Shows a 4-card Heart suit, and minimum values.
              3 : Shows a 4-card Spade suit, and minimum values.
              4 : Shows a 4-card Heart suit, and game values.
              4 : Shows a 4-card Spade suit, and game values.
              3 NT: Promises a stopper in the opponent's suit; denies a Major suit.
        3   Invitational Jacoby transfer bid to Hearts. The continuations are as follows:
              Opener Meaning
              3 : Generally played as showing no fit or strength.
              4 : Promises both a fit in Hearts and maximum values.
        3   Invitational Jacoby transfer bid to Spades. The continuations are as follows:
              Opener Meaning
              3 : Generally played as showing no fit or strength.
              4 : Promises both a fit in Spades and maximum values.
        3   If the suit of the opponent ranks lower than Spades, then this first response by the responder shows a partial stopper or bolster. The continuations are as follows:
            Note: a partial stopper is officially defined as a suit holding, that will provide a stopper, if and only if partner has a holding in the same suit or category. For example, a singleton Queen, a doubleton Queen, a tripleton Jack, four cards to the ten, five cards to the nine, or six cards to the eight. (Note: other definitions may vary.)
            Note: This is an optional bid since the partnership can agree to employ this first response by the responder as Minor Suit Stayman, transferring to Clubs, which can be either passed or corrected.
              Opener Meaning
              3 NT: Promises a partial stopper in the suit of the opponent.
              4 x: The opener knows that the promised partial stopper of partner will be insufficient to declare in a No Trump game contract. The opener then makes the most descriptive bid on the four level.
        3 NT   This first response denies a stopper in the suit of the opponent. The agreement is that the so-called FASS (Fast Arrival Shows Stopper) approach denies a stopper. The continuations are as follows:
              Opener Meaning
              Pass: Opener promises a stopper in the suit of the opponent and establishes the final contract.
              4 x: The opener knows that the partnership holds no stopper in the suit of the opponent. Therefore, the opener must make the most descriptive bid on the four level.
Rubinsohl: All bidding sequences above do not involve the employment of the Rubinsohl conventional defense method. As stipulated by Mr. Bruce Neill the Rubinsohl conventional defense method is only initiated with a first defensive response of 2 No Trump.
Opener   Overcaller   Responder   Meaning
1 NT           Range per partnership agreement.
    2 (suit)       Clubs - Diamonds - Hearts - Spades.
        2 NT   Transfer to Clubs. Rubinsohl.
        3   Transfer to Diamonds. Rubinsohl.
        Note: compare with the possible partnership agreement that this first response may also be viewed as the Stayman convention asking for a 4-card Major suit. This possible agreement depends on the overcall being either 2 Clubs or 2 Diamonds. The responder is required, with this alternate agreement, possess a 4-card suit in both Major suits at any state of vulnerability.
        3   Transfer to Hearts. Rubinsohl. Game invitational.
        3   Shows a 4-card Heart suit.. Game invitational.
        3   Transfer to 3 No Trump; shows no stopper and no Hearts. Rubinsohl. Promises game values.
        3 NT   To play, and promising a stopper in Spades.

Note: If the immediate overcall by the opponent is 2 Spades, then it is also important to remember that the 3 Spades rebid by the responder becomes a cuebid, which shows no stopper in the Spade suit. It is a request to the opener to bid 3 No Trump with a stopper or to find another appropriate bid.

Rubinsohl After a Weak Two Overcall

If the partner opens with a suit bid and the immediate player competes with a Weak Two bid, then the responder can defend with the Rubinsohl conventional bids as outlined in the schematic below. The employment of the Rubinsohl conventi onal bids promises at least invitational values.

The Weak Two bid must be defined and disclosed as a weak preemptive bid. If the preemptive bid contains another, alternative conventional definition, then the general partnership agreement is that the Rubinsohl conventional bids do not apply.

Opener   Overcaller   Responder   Meaning
1           Promises opening values.
    2 //       Defined as a preemptive Weak Two bid.
        2 NT   Rubinsohl transfer bid to Clubs.
        3

  Rubinsohl transfer bid to Diamonds.
        3   Rubinsohl transfer bid to Hearts.
        3   Promises a 4-card Heart suit.
        3   Rubinsohl transfer bid to 3 No Trump, and shows no stopper, no partial stopper, and no tolerance for Hearts.
        3 NT   To play. Promises a stopper(s) in the suit of the opponent.

The meaning of the responses by the responder remain the same. If the responder cuebids the suit of the opponent, then this cuebid shows no stopper in that suit and requests that the opener bid No Trump, when holding a stopper.

Note: Although rarely employed the Rubinsohl transfer bids can also be used similarly after a suit overcall.

Rubinsohl After a Weak Two Opening by Opponent

The flexibility of the Rubinsohl conventional response method, as with the lebensohl conventional response method, allows the partnership also to agree to employ transfer bids. These bids are employed according to the bids outlined in the schematic below. For the sake of convenience for the reader only the Weak Two bid in Hearts is used in this schematic. North represents the overcaller and South represents the advancer.

Opponent   North   Opponent   South   Meaning
2               This opening preemptive bid is defined as a Weak Two in Hearts.
    Double           This is a takeout double by the next player in rotation. A takeout double on the two level, as a first bid, normally communicates additional values or more than minimal values for an opening bid.
        Pass       No bid at this time.
            Pass   South, the advancer, converts the takeout double into a penalty double.
            2   To play.
            2 NT   This is the Rubinsohl transfer bid to Clubs. The holding of the advancer can be either weak or game-forcing.
            3   This is the Rubinsohl transfer bid to Diamonds. The holding of the advancer can be either weak or game-forcing.
            3   The advancer inquires as to the nature of the double. Partner will clarify the takeout double.
            3   This is the Rubinsohl transfer bid to Spades. The holding of the advancer must have values to be at least invitational.
            3   This is the Rubinsohl transfer bid to 3 No Trump. This bid promises game values, but denies support for a Major suit (3 or fewer) and no (partial) stopper in the suit of the opponent.
            3 NT   To play.

 

 

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.

 


     
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