Lea Bidding System
The Lea System is based on the 1965 privately published book, authored by Mr. Robert H. Lea of St. Paul, Minnesota, United States, entitled Bridge is Easy With The Lea System, with a Foreword by Leonard Smith. The system is based on a strong, forcing 1 Club opening, which promises 12 plus high card points.
The picture below is of Mr. Robert H. Lea taken in the year 1965, and the cover of his publication Bridge Is Easy with the Lea System.
The opening bids are shown in the schematic below.
Bid Values Meaning
1 : 12+ high card points Shows various shapes.
1 : 15-16 high card points Shows a 6-card plus Diamond suit.
1 : 15-16 high card points Shows a 6-card plus Heart suit.
1 : 15-16 high card points Shows a 6-card plus Spade suit.
1 NT: 12-14 high card points Promises balanced shape.
2 : 6-11 high card points Shows a 6-card plus Club suit.
2 : 6-11 high card points Shows a 6-card plus Diamond suit.
2 : 6-11 high card points Shows a 6-card plus Heart suit.
2 : 6-11 high card points Shows a 6-card plus Spade suit.
2NT: 12-14 high card points Distribution: 5-4 or 5-5 in both Minor suits.
1 Club Opening Bids
Since the 1 Club opening may show various shapes, the opening of 1 Club may not include any holding, which may be opened with a weak No Trump range of 12-14 high card points. Since the Lea bidding system, in the hand evaluation, also includes distributional points as well as high card points, an opening of 1 Club may not be made with any holding valued at 15-16 points and a 6-card suit. These holdings are always reserved for one of a suit opening. If the holding does not fall within these two exceptions, then the opening should be 1 Club.
The responses to a 1 Club opening will always show point count first. The length of the suit is irrelevant and these responses are absolutely artificial in nature. The first responses are shown below showing the point count range held by the responder.
Opener Responder Meaning
1 1 Shows 0-5 points.
1 Shows 6-8 points.
1 Shows 9-11 points.
1 NT Shows 12-14 points.
2 Shows 15-17 points.
2 Shows 18-20 points.
The partner of the opener is forced to bid, even with no points. The 1 Club opening is forcing for one round. Any first response of 1 No Trump or higher is game forcing.
1 1 NT Responder has game-forcing values; 12-14 points.
1 Opener shows a 4-card Spade suit.
2 Responder shows a 4-card Heart suit.
3 Opener shows a 4-card Diamond suit.
3 NT Responder realizes no fit and bids No Trump.
In the example above, the responder is unable to bid the Club suit, showing a stopper, since the level of the contract would exceed 3 No Trump.
1 1 Responder shows 9-11 points.
2 Opener shows a 4-card Spade suit.
3 Responder shows a 4-card Heart suit.
4 Opener shows a 4-card Club suit and a 5-card Spade suit.
4 Responder must temporize to show a 5-card Heart suit.
4 Responder bids game in Hearts.
The concept behind the bidding system, which Mr. Robert H. Lea devised, is that the responder, with the very first response, shows the range of values held. Once the total number of values held is known by one partner, then the level of the contract is somewhat established. All rebids show at least a 4-card suit, whereas a second rebid shows a second 4-card suit and a longer first bid suit.