LANDY CONVENTION

This conventional method was developed and devised by Mr. Alvin Landy of Greewich, Connecticut. The concept is that of overcalling an opening bid of 1 No Trump by an opponent. The original version by Mr. Alvin Landy states that the overcall may be made either immediately or in the fourth seat after two passes. This is especially the case if the opponent has opened a weak No Trump with a lowest range of 12 high card points, which is particularly the case if the bidding system of the opponents is the Acol Bidding System.

The conventional method is also based on the idea that the initiator can compete in the auction with a marginally weak to an average two-suited holding showing both Major suits, via an overcall of 2 Clubs either immediately or in the balancing seat after two consecutive passes. The major deciding factor, especially in the immediate seat, is that the player must decide whether or not to compete by pre-calculating, pre-determining, pre-guessing a favorable result in the score, which will also be based on the state of vulnerability. In the balancing seat this decision to compete becomes easier to determine since the partner of the No Trump bidder has shown weakness in points by passing.

The original concept of Mr. Alvin Landy made a huge impact on the game of bridge, because he was practically the first bridge player, who devised a defense method against a No Trump opening by an opponent. Viewed from this perspective he changed for all times the way bridge was played. However, since the original concept allowed the overcaller to show only those two-suited holdings with both Major suits, the concept was rather limited. Other variations and variants, with less stricter distributional patterns, were soon devised to include other two-suited holdings. In reality the conventional method of Mr. Alvin Landy has become rather more a historical fact. The original concept is seldom, if ever employed in the more modern bridge bidding.

The strongly suggested point count is that the player planning to compete against a No Trump opening should hold a minimum of 5/6 points, but no more than 15/16 high card points. If the player holds points in excess of 16 plus high card points, then the player should first double and then bid. The double is not penalty-oriented. The following two holdings should clarify when a player should decide to compete and when not to compete. The reader will notice that the distribution is identical.

Example 1:
Opponent
Overcaller
Example 2:
Opponent
Overcaller
AK8
A763
Q43
KJ5
QJ1096
QJ1094
75
9
KQJ
AQ63
KJ43
J54
A9874
A10987
Q7
6
1 NT
2
1 NT
PASS

The overcaller in Example 1 has a holding worth 5-6 playing tricks. The overcaller in Example 2 has a holding worth 3-4 playing tricks. The distribution is identical, and the values held by the overcaller in Example 1 equal 6 points as opposed to 10 points in Example 2, but the trick-taking capability of the holding in Example 1 equals at least 2-3 playing tricks more, which the overcaller can present to his partner, or advancer, as dummy, if the advancer becomes declarer.

Note: all partnerships solely basing and employing the evaluation method of Losing Trick Count should be very cautious in deciding to employ the Landy conventional method. As the bridge player can readily see, both holdings of the overcaller contain seven losing tricks.

The responses of the advancer, or partner of the overcaller, are shown below. It must be remembered that the advancer may be a passed hand before an opponent opens the auction with No Trump or also a passed hand, which immediately followed the No Trump opening by an opponent. These responses become only valid if the partner of the No Trump bidder passes. All continuances in competition by the partner of the No Trump bidder are per partnership agreement.

The advancer may pass if the partner of the No Trump bidder competes.

Overcaller Advancer Meaning
2 Artificial. Shows both Major suits of 5-card plus length.
Pass Shows a weak holding with at least a 6-card plus Club suit.
2 Shows a weak holding, minimum of 3-card support, and a preference for Hearts. The bid does not deny equal length in the other Major suit, only a preference.
2 Shows a weak holding, minimum of 3-card support, and a preference for Spades. The bid does not deny equal length in the other Major suit, only a preference.
2 NT * This is an asking response requesting the intervenor (overcaller) to bid the better Major suit. The inference is that the advancer has equal support in both Major suits and sufficient values to support both Major suits on the three level. * See below.
3 Shows excellent support for both Major suits and game values based on distribution and/or Losing Trick count. This first response by the advancer is artificial and game forcing.
3 Natural bid. Shows at least a solid 5-card Diamond suit or a semi-solid 6-card plus Diamond suit.
3 Invitational. Shows at least a 3-card support in Hearts, a distributional holding with ruffing ability and/or sufficient high card points located in both Major suits.
3 Invitational. Shows at least a 3-card support in Spades, a distributional holding with ruffing ability and/or sufficient high card points located in both Major suits.

* Note: it must be noted that some variants employ the 2 No Trump response by the advancer as natural and employ only the 3 response as game forcing.

The original Landy conventional method does not include the provision that the distribution of both Major suits may also be 4-5 or even 4-4. The original Landy conventional method only mentions both Major suits, each of 5 card plus length. For other variants of the Landy conventional method, which include such a feature, please review these variants.