Liberty vs. Multi



The Liberty vs. Multi defense is used when the opponents opening bid has multiple weak possibilities with no known suit (examples below).  It is designed to increase the possibility of penalties while also providing some blocking bids.  The key tool is the Liberty Double (LD) made directly over the multi bid - it is a takeout of any suit but the suit bid.  Another technique used is for overcalls to be light at the two level or at three of a minor, as long as it is in a suit the multi opener would not be long in if holding the weak hand.  The purpose of this is to block the opponents from finding their fit in a situation where they may have a game.


Direct Bidder Structure

-          Double is takeout of any suit but the suit actually bid by the multi opener (i.e. not the suit or suits shown, but the suit actually bid).  The double is made aggressively with shortness in a suit the multi bidder could have, and support for the other three suits.  The double is made conservatively with shortness in a suit the multi bidder can not have.  The double can be made with primary length in the suit bid and extras, too good just to make a simple overcall.  This double is called the Liberty Double.

-          Overcalls are natural, but overcalls at the two level or three of a minor in suits that cannot be held by the multi opening (i.e. when having a weak hand) are light and limited (about 10 to 14 HCP).  Overcalls at three of a major or higher, or in suits that can be held by the multi opening (when weak) are never light, usually about 13/14 to 18/19 HCP.

-          Jump overcalls are natural, good values and long suit.

-          Jumps to 3NT are natural, about 19 to 23 HCP, but see pass then double next below for other option if multi opening has a strong hand type.

-          4NT shows both minors.

-          Pass followed by double shows a strong balanced hand or equivalent.

-          Pass followed by notrump shows a strong notrump balanced hand, about 15 to 17 if 2NT, 17 to 20 if 3NT – it is a hand that does not want to double since it is not too defensive in nature.

-          Pass followed by a suit that the multi opener could have had is natural, limited by not having overcalled before.

-          Pass followed by a suit that the multi opener could not have shows that suit and another suit, limited by not having overcalled before.

-          If the multi opening does not contain at least one strong hand type (15+ HCP), then passing and next doubling is limited with about 14 to 16 HCP, since with more points it is dangerous to pass the multi bid in case it is passed out.  If the multi opening does contain a strong hand type, then the pass followed by double is unlimited to upper range.

-          Cheapest notrump is artificial, it shows

a)       takeout for the opening bid suit but consider option of passing first then next doubling if multi opening very unlikely to be passed by responder.  The takeout bid shows extras (15+ HCP) if the multi bidder can be long in the short suit (if holding the weak hand types for their multi bid).

b)       if it is a 2NT bid, it can be a good overcall in a minor suit that is both not the opening suit bid and not a long suit that can be held by the multi bidder (if weak).


Fourth Seat Bidder Structure

-          Double is takeout, but it will often not have a perfect shape for a takeout double.  2NT is Lebenshol by partner if your partnership normally plays Lebenshol after takeout double of weak twos (you should).

-          Overcalls are natural, including a bid in the suit responder bid.

-          Notrump bids are natural, 2NT is 16 to 18, a non-jump 3NT is 17 to 23, a jump to 3NT is 19 to 23/24.  If the fourth seat bidder is a passed hand, a jump in notrump is for the minors and the cheapest notrump bid is a two suited takeout of responder’s last bid suit.

-          Jump overcalls to four of a minor suit are leaping style - it shows the suit bid, and the highest ranking suit not bid by responder.

-          Jump overcalls in a major suit and jump overcalls to five or higher in a minor are natural, showing length and values.


The Liberty Double (LD)


Terminology note: the partner of the doubler will be called “advancer”.


The Liberty Double shows takeout for any suit but the one bid.


After a LD double:


-          2NT by Advancer is Lebenshol if your partnership normally plays Lebenshol after takeout double of weak twos (you should).

-          Advancer can double a suit bid to show values and suggest a pass with length in the suit doubled.  If reply to Lebenshol 2NT, the LD Doubler does not bid 3C if short in that suit, but instead bids 3D.

-          If the LD doubler doubles again, it is a passable takeout double, unless takeout of that suit is impossible in which case it is penalty.  2NT is still Lebenshol (if you play it) in reply to the second double.

-          If the LD doubler next bids the suit originally doubled, it is natural and shows the suit plus extras (since otherwise could have just overcalled the suit).

-          A bid in the suit now being bid the opponents is the cuebid by either doubler or advancer.

-          Other suits bid by the LD doubler imply shortness in the suit now being bid by the opponents.

-          With length in the suit now being bid by the opponents the LD doubler either passes or bids notrump.

-          Suit bids by advancer, aside from a cuebid in the suit now being bid by the opponents, are natural, and are bid as if opposite a takeout double of the suit now being bid.  However if the LD doubler’s takeout suit is still unknown, then advancer should prefer pass or double with length in the suit now being bid by the opponents, to help flush out the opponents.  In replying to advancer’s suit bid, if the LD doubler is short in the suit advancer bids, then a correction is made to the cheapest suit bid or to notrump with considerable extras.  Other calls show extra values and imply no shortness in the suit bid by advancer.

-          Once the LD doubler defines which suit is for takeout, all doubles by either partner then suggest penalty. 


Responding to Overcalls by the direct bidder or by the fourth seat bidder

-          new suits are forcing if below game and made by an unpassed hand

-          2NT if available is artificial, like a cuebid

-          if 2NT is unavailable, bid a new suit below game to force

-          jump new suits are splinters, showing shortness in the suit bid


Bidding after direct bid of the cheapest notrump


The cheapest notrump is takeout of the suit bid (with extras if the multi bidder cannot be long in this suit) or, if 2NT, a strong overcall in a minor that the multi bidder cannot have and is not the opening bid suit.

If the cheapest notrump bid is simply takeout (not strong for a minor), responder shows support for a takeout suit at the appropriate level.  A bid of the short suit is like a cuebid, artificial and asks partner to describe hand.  If the short suit is bid and rebid it is to play but shows good values.  With a very long suit and without good values the short suit can be jumped – for example 2D-2NT(takeout of Ds)-Pass-4D shows very long diamonds without good values.

If cheapest notrump bid is 2NT, and it can be a good overcall in one or both minors, partner does not bid pass a minor unless has values to play in at least 3NT or four of the minor.  In this case a bid of the minor at the three level is simply giving partner a chance to pass.  The most common situation is this: 2D(Multi, weak in a major)-2NT(takeout of Ds with extras or good overcall in Cs)-Pass-3C(giving partner the chance to pass with the overcall in Cs).  Except for bidding a minor cheaply, the partner of the 2NT bidder should bid as if the 2NT bid was just showing shortness in the suit opened and then wait and see what the 2NT bidder rebids.


Liberty vs. Multi Examples - Multi 2D, where 2D is a weak two in a major, or some strong meaning


a)       Direct Structure


Pass – can be strong balanced hand or equivalent, but limited to 15/16 if multi 2D does not have any strong hand types

Double – takeout of any suit but diamonds, if takeout of clubs extras held, may have 15+ diamond overcall

2H, 2S – decent overcalls in the majors

2NT – extra value takeout of diamonds or a 15+ overcall in clubs (but if short in a major not diamonds prefer double)

3C, 3D – light limited overcalls, about 10-14

3H, 3S – long major, extra values

3NT – 19 to 23 balanced

4C, 4D – natural, extras values and long minor

4H, 4S – very good hand and long major

4NT – both minors

5C, 5D – very long suit, extra values


b)       Some Sequences


-          2D(Multi)-2H(hearts & decent values)-Pass-2NT(Force)-Pass-4H

-          2D(Multi)-3C(clubs light and limited)-Pass-3D(Force)-Pass-3NT

-          2D(Multi)-Double(LD – never short in Ds, takeout of another suit)-Pass-Pass-2H-Double(Passable takeout of hearts)

-          2D(Multi)-Double(LD)-2H(Pass or correct)-Double(Values)-Pass-Pass(Hearts)-Pass

-          2D(Multi)-Double(LD)-3H(Pass or correct)-3S(spades, short hearts)-Pass-3NT(hearts, short spades).

-          2D(Multi)-Double(LD)-2H(Pass or correct)-Pass-Pass-Pass(hearts, not enough to bid 2NT)

-          2D(Multi)-Double(LD)-2H(Pass or correct)-Double(Values)-2S-Double(Passable Takeout)

-          2D(Multi)-Double(LD)-Pass-2NT(Lebenshol, and likely short in Ds)-Pass-3C-Pass-Pass-Pass

-          2D(Multi)-Pass-2H(Pass or correct)-Double(takeout)-2S-Pass-Pass-Double(Penalty)

-          2D(Multi)-Pass-3S(Pass or correct)-Double(takeout)-Pass-3NT(to play, but not enough defense to pass double)

-          2D(Multi)-Pass-2H(Pass or correct)-Pass-2S-Pass-Pass-Double (strong balanced hand).

-          Pass-2D(Multi)-Pass-Pass-2NT (two suited takeout).

-          2D(Multi)-Pass-2H(Pass or correct)-Pass-Pass-3C(clubs and another suit)

-          2D(Multi)-Pass-2H(Pass or correct)-Pass-Pass-2S(spades, limited by not having overcalled spades before)

-          2D(Multi)-Pass-2H(Pass or correct)-Pass-Pass-2NT(strong balanced hand but not enough defense to double).

-          2D(Multi)-Pass-2H-Pass-Pass-2NT(15-17 or so)-Pass-3H(transfer)-Pass-3S-Pass-3NT


c)       Example Hand 1



S A954

H 7



West                      East

S JT                        S KQ76

H KQJT95              H A832

D J4                        D Q865

C 832                      C 9


S 832

H 64

D T973

C AT76


West                      North                      East                        South

2D(Multi)               Double(LD)           4H(1)                      Pass

Pass                        Double(2)              All Pass


(1): Pass or correct, length in both majors

(2): Passable takeout double, with void in hearts North would bid 4S second time.


d)       Example Hand 2



S ---

H K9875

D Q952


West                      East

S QJT72 S K983

H 63                        H A4

D 8764                    D AKJ

C 87                        C T632


S A654


D T3

C Q54


West                      North                      East                        South

2D(Multi)               Double(LD)           2H(1)                      Double(2)

2S                            3C(3)                       3S                            4H

All Pass


(1): Pass or correct

(2): Passable value showing double

(3): Takeout of spades, did not want to make passable takeout double here


e)       Example Hand 3



S K2

H AJ92


C A53

West                      East

S AQ9854              S J

H 873                      H K54

D 76                        D QJ532

C J8                         C KT92


S T763


D 98

C Q764

West                      North                      East                        South

2D(Multi)               Double(LD)           2H(1)                      Pass(2)

2S                            Double (3)             Pass                        2NT(4)

Pass                        3C or 3NT(5)         All Pass

(1): Pass or correct

(2): Happy for opponents to play in 2H if partner has a takeout of spades

(3): Passable takeout double of spades

(4): Lebenshol, not enough to afford a pass

(5): Do you feel lucky today?


Liberty vs. Multi Examples - 2S Either Minor Weak Preempt


a)       Some Sequences

2S(a Minor)-Double(LD)-4D(Pass or correct)-Double(Values)-Pass-4S(natural).

2S(a Minor)-Pass-3C(Pass or Correct)-Double(takeout)-3D-Double(Penalty/Values)

2S(a Minor)-3S(Natural)-Pass-3NT(Natural)

2S(a Minor)-3C(Natural)-Pass-Pass-Pass

2S(a Minor)-Pass-Pass(it happens!)-3C(natural)-Pass-3D(natural, limited by nothing having made overcall before)

2S(a Minor)-2NT(takeout of spades)

2S(a Minor)-3H(natural)-Pass-4C(forcing)

2S(a Minor)-3NT(natural)-Pass-4C (Stayman) etc.

2S(a Minor)-Pass-3C(Pass or correct)-Pass-3D-Double(strong balanced hand, but limited to about 15-16 HCP)


b)       Example Hand



S K5

H Q9

D Q74

C KT9643

West                      East

S AQJ73 S T8642

H J875                    H A643

D A                         D 93

C AQ5                    C J8


S 9


D KJT8652

C 72


West                      North                      East                        South

Pass                        Pass                        2S(a Minor)

Double(LD)           4D(1)                      Pass                        Pass

Double(2)              Pass                        4S                            All Pass


(1): Pass or correct

(2): Passable value showing double

Liberty vs. Multi Examples - 2S Random Any Suit Preempt


a)       Some Sequences


2S(Random)-Double(LD  takeout of suit other than spades)-Pass-Pass-3D-Double(passable takeout)-Pass-3H-All Pass

2S(Random)-Double(LD)-Pass-Pass-3H-3S(natural, likely short in Hs)-Pass-4H(cuebid)-Pass-4S

2S(Random)-Double(LD)-Pass-Pass-3C-Pass(not takeout of clubs)-Pass-Double(Values)

2S(Random)-Double(LD)-Pass-Pass-3D-Pass(not takeout of diamonds)-Pass-3H(hearts, short in Ds)-Pass-3S(implies a takeout of Hs)

2S(Random)-Double(LD)-Pass-2NT(Lebenshol, implying short Ss)-Pass-3D(short in Cs)-Pass-Pass-Pass



2S(Random)-3C(clubs, decent values)

2S(Random)-3S(spades, decent values)


2S(Random)-2NT(takeout of spades, extras)-Pass-3C (to play in Cs)


b)       Example Hand




H T987

D 763

C 98652

West                      East

S KQ9865               S 72

H 64                        H QJ

D QJ842 D T95

C ---                        C KJT743


S AT43

H AK532




West                      North                      East                        South

Pass                        2S(Random)          Double(LD)

Pass                        2NT(1)                    Pass                        3H(2)

Pass                        4H                           All Pass


(1): Lebenshol, implying short Ss or would have passed 2S doubled

(2): Extra values, a takeout of a minor with heart length

Liberty vs. Multi Examples - 3D showing preempt in hearts or diamonds


a)       Some Sequences


3D(two way red)-Double(LD)-Pass-3S-Pass-4D(natural)-Pass-Pass-Pass

3D(two way red)-4D(natural)-Pass-4H(natural and non-forcing since at game)-Pass-Pass-Pass

3D(two way red)-4C(clubs)-Pass-Pass-Pass

3D(two way red)-3H(natural)-Pass-4D (nautral or semi-natural and forcing)

3D(two way red)-Pass-Pass-4C(natural)-Pass-4H-Pass-Pass-Pass

3D(two way red)-Pass-Pass-Double(takeout)-Pass-Pass-Pass


b)       Example Hand




H 64


C A97

West                      East

S 973                       S J

H Q9                       H KJT8753

D J63                      D 8

C KQ854                C JT62


S Q654

H A2

D KT9742

C 3


West                      North                      East                        South

                                3D(two way)         Pass

Pass(1)                   Double(2)              3H                           4S

Pass                        4NT                        Pass                        etc.


(1): Trypical operation not vulnerable

(2): Takeout, not perfect shape