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"Reclaim" as Alternative to Lebensohl
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When LHO messes with my 11-14 1NT opener, I want more function than offered by the Anysohl systems (Lebensohl, Transfer-Leb, Rubensohl). In particular, with a wide range opener, I need as many invitational sequences as possible, for both single-suiters and balanced hands, including an exit to 2NT. An ideal system would include the following features. To the best of my knowledge, none of the Anysohl systems cover all of them, but Reclaim does.

  1. A size ask, especially important for a wide-range opener. The size ask would facilitate invitational Stayman and invitational stopper-ask sequences. Critically, the routine would let an invitational responder stop in 2NT when opener is minimum.
  2. Invitational sequences in all suits for any two-level overcall
  3. Full and half-stopper queries
  4. Reduced vulnerability to 4th seat advances because responder’s holding is known more often

 

Anysohl's defining method, the use of 2NT as a relay, is also its major weakness --- you lose the option to play in that contract. On the other hand, the Reclaim transfer structure (you reclaim your transfers) easily permits an invitational balanced hand to settle in 2NT opposite a minimum opener. The price you pay for these benefits? You lose whatever meaning you now assign to double, which Reclaim uses as the first in a series of transfers.

I will illustrate with a (2) overcall. Reclaim transfers begin with X, and continue through the three-level to the suit below the overcall. Transfers into suits at the two-level are standard. Transfers beginning with calls of 2 are two-under, and request a min/max response. The 2 bid (ostensibly showing clubs) serves as the size-ask. If the overcall was (2), then X becomes the two-under for clubs/size ask.

So, after 1NT (2), the basic structure follows. You might prefer alternate meanings to some of the sequences. You might have some ideas for the ‘bonus’ bids. I'm sure some of you will share your suggestions :-).

X = spades --- normal one-under

2 = clubs++ (also size ask, checkback for Stayman and stoppers) --- first two-under

2NT = diamonds --- two under

3 = 4=1=4=4 approx

3 = half-stopper ask

3 = stopper ask

3 = bonus (natural and preemptive? two minors weak? two minors strong? 31(45) strong?)

Some specifics for the (2) overcall:

X = one-under for spades. Followups are intuitive, and can include requests for half- and full-stoppers. No more guessing about stopper status! After opener rebids 2, responder can pass, can rebid invitational 2NT (no guarantee of stopper), 3 with GF to ask for a half-stopper (probing for 3NT in case opener has only 2 spades), 3 with GF to ask for a full stopper, 3 with invitational 6, 3NT if content with stoppers. After responder's 2NT, maximum opener can also query stopper status.

2 = two-under for clubs++. Ostensibly for clubs. 2 also serves to ask for size. Responder will be at least invitational if not looking to play in clubs. Minimum opener responds 2NT, passable by an invitational responder. Maximum opener responds 3. Wanting to play in clubs, responder rebids accordingly. Responder can continue with 3 = Stayman, or ask for a stopper with 3. Responder with a strong 4xx6 hand might rebid 3.

2NT = two-under for diamonds. Opener rebids 3 with a minimum, and 3 with a maximum. Responder wanting to play in 3 passes or corrects. If responder was invitational, over 3 he rebids 3 to play, and over 3 he continues to describe his hand. If he was GF he continues to describe his hand. He can secondarily ask for a stopper with 3, or bid 3 to show a nice hand with four spades.

3 = two-under ‘cuebid’ for hearts? Shows shortness? Since you can no longer make a negative double, you might employ 3 to show a shapely 4=1=4=4, non-forcing but strong enough to play at the three-level. Have another idea for this bid?

3 = one-under 'cuebid', half-stopper ask. 3 would deny. 3 would deny and show 5 spades. 3NT would confirm. Have another idea?

3 = traditionally a stopper ask

3 = bonus

There is another benefit. When opener’s RHO advances the overcall, opener is often better placed than he would be if partner, playing Anysohl, had responded 2NT. Opener will at least know responder’s suit, unless responder has bid 2 (clubs++). Responder has voluntarily bid over the overcall, so he has some values. Opener can raise partner's suit with a nice fit. If opener passes, responder can balance with X to show extras. If opener passes and responder has bid 2, a reopening X would show the invitational or better balanced hand.

You make the usual adjustments when the overcall is artificial. With the Capp (2) or DONT (X) or some weird multi-purpose thing, generally wait for the reveal of overcaller’s suit. When the overcall is a transfer, say (2) = hearts, then 2 = spades, 2 = clubs++, etc. If the (2M) overcall shows M plus m, ignore the m implications. And so on.

If the overcall is (2), then

X = clubs++

2NT = diamonds

3 = hearts

3 = maybe 1=4=4=4

3 = half stopper ask

3 = stopper ask

 

If the overcall is a rare natural (2)*, then

X = hearts

2 = spades

2 = clubs++

2NT = maybe 4=4=1=4

3 = half-stopper ask

3 = stopper ask

3 = bonus

3 = bonus

 

(*Note the sequence 1NT (2) 2 (P); 2NT/3 (P) ??. When the overcall is (2M), 3 here is Stayman and 3M is cuebid stopper-ask. In the given sequence, 3 cannot serve as both Stayman and the cuebid. So for this rare overcall, 3 in this sequence might ask for a diamond stopper.)

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