SAYC is a bidding system based on 5-card majors and a strong 1NT. It is prevalent in online bridge games and derives its origins from the ACBL.


ACBL Publications


General Approach

The following is from the ACBL's treatise on SAYC:

  • Normally open five-card majors in all seats.
  • Open the higher of long suits of equal length: 5-5 or 6-6.
  • Normally open 1D with 4-4 in the minors.
  • Normally open 1C with 3-3 in the minors.
  • Notrump openings show a balanced hand and can be made with a five-card major suit or a five-card minor suit.
  • 1NT = 15-17
  • 2NT = 20-21
  • 3NT = 25-27
  • Strong conventional 2C opening.
  • Weak two-bids in diamonds, hearts and spades.


Opening Bids

Bid Description Related Conventions
1C opening bid 3+ clubs, 13-22 points Limit Raises
1D opening bid 3+ diamonds, 13-22 points Limit Raises
1H opening bid 5+ hearts, 13-22 points Limit Raises
Jacoby 2NT
Jordan 2NT
1S opening bid 5+ spades, 13-22 points Limit Raises
Jacoby 2NT
Jordan 2NT
1NT opening bid Balanced, 15-17 HCP Gerber
Jacoby Transfers
Stayman
2C opening bid 22+ points or 9+ tricks --
2d"/H/S opening bids 6-card suit, 5-11 HCP RONF
2NT opening bid Balanced, 20-21 HCP Gerber
Jacoby Transfers
Stayman
3C/d"/H/S opening bids 7-card suit, 5-11 HCP --
3NT opening bid Balanced, 25-27 HCP Jacoby Transfers
Stayman
4C/C" opening bids 8-card suit, 5-11 HCP --
4H/S" opening bids 7+ card suit, 7 tricks not vul. or 8 tricks vul. --


Doubles

Bid Description Related Conventions
Takeout Doubles Takeout for the unbid suits --
Negative Doubles Through 2S --
SOS Redoubles Redoubling for takeout after the opponents double for penalty --


Slam Bidding

Bid Description Related Conventions
4C Gerber Asks for aces in a no-trump contract DOPI
DEPO
ROPI
4NT Blackwood Asks for aces in a trump contract DOPI
DEPO
ROPI
5NT Grand Slam Force Invites a grand slam with 2 of 3 top trump honors --


Overcalls

Bid Description Related Conventions
1-level suit overcall 8-16 HCP, 4+ card suit --
1NT Balanced, 15-18 HCP Gerber
Jacoby Transfers
Stayman
Michaels Cuebid 5-5 or longer in two suits --
Unusual 2NT 5-5 or longer in the lower two unbid suits --
Weak jump overcalls 6-card suit, 5-11 points RONF


Defensive Leads

Vs. Suit Vs. Notrump Notes
xx xx Includes all doubletons, such as KJ, QJ, J5, and 32. The only exception is AK - lead the king.
AKx AKx --
KQx KQx --
QJx QJx --
JTx JTx --
JT9x JT9x --
KJTx KJTx --
KT9x KT9x --
QT9x QT9x --
xxx xxx Low vs. suit contracts. Top of nothing vs. no-trumps.
xxxx xxxx 4th-best vs suit contracts. Second-highest vs. no-trumps (without holding an honor).
xxxxx xxxxx 4th-best vs suit contracts. Second-highest vs. no-trumps (without holding an honor).


Defensive Carding


Origins

SAYC is a bidding system created by the ACBL in the 1980s for tournament play. The intent was to offer "Yellow Card" events in which everyone played the same system, thereby avoiding alerts and misunderstandings.

When online duplicate bridge began in the late 1990's, SAYC filled the need for a default convention card. It gained traction on OKbridge and was later adopted by Bridge Base Online. Ironically, SAYC is more popular today as the de facto system in online pickup games than the carefully standardized sit-down events which the ACBL originally envisioned.

Online adoption has led to grassroots modifications of the system, with some players defining "SAYC Basic" vs. "SAYC Full". Officially, the ACBL does not make this distinction.

It is also worth noting that SAYC lacks a few conventions that are popular in modern tournaments. Experienced players may consider filling some "holes" in the system, including (but not limited to):

See also

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