Lionel is a contract bridge bidding convention used in defense against an opposing 1NT openings. Using Lionel, over a 1NT opening of the opponents:
Any of the overcalls denote high-card strength corresponding to 12+ (or good 11) high card points.
Following the Lionel double, the partner of the double responds as follows:
(1NT) - dbl - (pass) - ??
- pass = 10+ hcp, all subsequent doubles for penalty
- 2♣ = pass-or-correct bid (doubler to pass or bid second suit)
- 2♦ = Non-forcing, diamond length (typically 5+) with heart tolerance. Doubler can bid 2♥ with hearts as second suit and less than two diamonds.
- 2♥ = Natural, non-forcing
- 2♠ = Weak Raise
- 2NT = Invitational spade raise without a singleton side suit
- 3♣/♦/♥ = Invitational spade raise with singleton or void in bid suit
- 3♠ = preemptive raise
After a minor suit Lionel overcall, the responses are straightforward. For instance:
(1NT) - 2♣ - (pass) - ??
- Pass = to play
- 2♦ = to play
- 2♥ = weak raise
- 2♠ = to play
- 2NT = invitational heart raise
- 3♣ = preemptive
- 3♥ = preemptive
Like using Brozel, CoCa or DONT, using Lionel has the consequence of losing the penalty double over opponent's 1NT. Although this is often seen as a loss, Lionel Wright argued that this loss turns into an advantage as it opens the possibility to defend 1NT doubled with split points between you and your partner. As a balanced holding of the majority of points is far more likely to occur than holding the majority of points in an imbalanced way, a conventional non-penalty double over 1NT holds the potential of paying-off on many hands. Also, non-penalty doubles are more difficult to deal with than traditional business doubles.
- Lionel Wright, Lionel in Action, International Popular Bridge Monthly, Vol. 19, No. 5 (May 1993).
- Chris Ryall's page on 1NT defenses
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