Rubensohl: ( Kantar – Lesson by Bob Crosby)

Spade SuitLebensohl  by responder over a strong NT was invented so that you can compete better or show game forcing hands immediately.

Spade SuitThe bad part of Lebensohl is that you must go thru a relay to find out partners real suit so when RHO competes you might never know that you have a fantastic fit. In today’s game, the opponents always seem to use their toy to disturb your NT but RHO is getting into the act more & more to re-preempt the auction.

Spade SuitJeff Rubens from the Bridge World thought it was a better idea for partner to announce the suit directly with a transfer but your strength later with a D.S.I.P. double (“Do something intelligent partner” double)-or a Q bid or by bidding again. You build your system around hand evaluation concepts.

Spade Suit Rubensohl was built on the transfer concept.

The Problem

Example 1
1NT 2Spade Suit 3
4Spade Suit ?
With Spade Suitxxx AQxx AKxx Kx  it might be a good idea to bid 5 since partner has announced hearts with her transfer . Partner’s hand is Spade Suitx Kxxxxx xx Q10xx but playing Lebensohl he would have bid 2NT so with the same 4Spade Suitbid by RHO the partnership is poorly placed. Competing for a partial is important as double partial swings are expensive. Example 2.  
1NT 2Spade Suit 2NT
3Spade Suit ?
You hold Spade Suitxxx Ax Axxx AKxx and guess that partner was competing in hearts so you pass. Wrong, partner had diamonds . With Spade Suitx xxx QJ10xxx Qxx, you are on a hook for 5 but you sell out for 3Spade Suit unaware of your huge diamond fit.

The Solution

Spade SuitThe device Rubens suggests to prevent RHO from jamming you is to replace the Lebensohl structure with a  transfer structure.  Spade SuitThis allows the NT opener to know the suit immediately Spade SuitBy the simple act of  accepting the transfer, he can be dropped by partner when his intention was just to compete. Spade SuitWhen partner’s intention was to force, he can bid game or Q-bid or bid Blackwood or whatever. Spade SuitAnother brilliant part of this structure is that you can define meanings to transferring into their suit. Spade SuitTransfers also allows the concept of “super accepts” which can also be used in this structure Spade SuitUsable bidding with two suiters is preserved with transfers along with the super accept understandings. Spade SuitAll this & the contract is right sided !!!

How it Works

Spade SuitWhen the opponents bid artificially or bid the minors naturally, Lebensohl or other understandings are on. Spade SuitWhen  the opponents make artificial doubles or 2bids showing a single suit, we just ignore them and systems are on. Spade SuitA double on an artificial 2bid is simply Stayman or cards ( partnership preference ) . Spade SuitRubensohl applies after a 1NT overcall also with RHO interfering. After a 1NT opening bid and a natural 2or 2Spade Suit overcall (also playable if the overcall shows the bid suit along with an unknown minor. Example 3
1NT 2 ?
Double= penalty, D.S.I.P on terrorist vul  (us vul them not) 2Spade Suit= Natural, not forcing. 2NT= Transfer to 3 3 = Transfer to 3 3 =  ( transfer to their suit ) Stayman or 3NT without a stopper 3 =  transfer to 3Spade Suit 3Spade Suit  = both minors (eg Spade Suitxx  AQxxx   KJxxx) 3NT=  Natural  with a heart stopper 4  =  Gerber (for aces only) 4  =  Transfer to 4Spade Suit(If followed by 4NT, Keycard Blackwood) 4NT = Natural After a 2NT transfer to 3 you can:     (1)  Pass (2)  Bid 3or 3Spade Suit, natural, showing 6-4 with six clubs, forcing. (3)  Bid 3NT slam try in clubs After a 3 transfer to 3, you can: (1)   Pass (2)   Bid 3Spade Suit or 4to show six diamonds and four of the bid suit. (3)   Bid 3NT, a slam try in diamonds After a 3 transfer to 3Spade Suit, you can 1.    Bid 3NT and give partner a choice of game contracts. 2.    Raise to 4Spade Suit(slam try as you did not bid Texas transfer). 3.    Bid a new suit, natural, probably 5-5. 4.    Bid 4NT, natural, with five. After a  3 transfer to their suit 1. Accept the transfer to their suit with no major or stopper 2. Bid your major 3. Bid 3NT with a stopper Note: Transferring into their suit should also be a way of asking partner if he has a stopper in their suit as well as Stayman. When the NT opener does bid a 4 card major & partner now bids 3NT he does not have a stopper. When you do not do either, scrambling for the best contract commences. Example 4: NS Vulnerable
1NT 2Spade Suit ?
Double =  penalty  – D.S.I.P. (Do Something Intelligent, Partner) 2NT = transfer to 3 3 = transfer to  3 3  = transfer to 3 3  = Stayman or 3NT without a stopper (transfer to their suit) 3Spade Suit =  both minors 3NT=  Natural, with a spade stop. 4  = Gerber 4 = Transfer to 4(If followed by 4NT, Keycard Blackwood) 4NT = Natural Responses are consistent with the heart overcall. With this treatment , the transfer always shows the suit immediately, in case RHO interferes. Rubensohl, like Lebensohl … Spade SuitApplies when partner makes a 1NT overcall and they interfere. Spade SuitYou can give a meaning to transferring into the 2nd bid suit if there is one. Spade SuitD.S.I.P. doubles rather than penalty doubles apply in these auctions also when they interfere after a 1NT overcall by partner. If RHO Competes Understandings are also necessary of RHO gets in the act , but these are just common sense. As per other Bridge principles , if they double, Spade SuitBidding is the weakest action. Spade SuitPass denies a fit and leaves room for a penalty double if there is one . Spade SuitA XX is punitive & denies a fit with your suit. Spade SuitA Q-bid or 3NT are super accepts even with RHO interfering.