Standard American Bidding(5-Card Major System) Click here for a 2-page printable version of this guide.
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- Standard American Yellow Card (SAYC) is a standardized version of the Standard American system, allowing almost no variation. As such, it is useful for playing in clubs and online. Many partnerships start with SAYC and make various adjustments to their taste. Contentsshow Openings Standard American Yellow Card uses 5-card majors (although very good 4-card majors may be opened with discretion.
- Bridge Bulletin Standard is the bidding system used by the panelists for It’s Your Call. It is loosely based on popular Standard American and 2/1 treatments commonly used by duplicate players in North America. It is more than SAYC, but less than a full-blown 2/1 system.
”What is Standard Bidding? This is an increasingly hard question to answer, but the proliferation of bridge on the Internet in pickup partnerships makes it imperative that someone does so. Perhaps the most popular natural system for the hundreds of thousands of online players worldwide is the Standard American Yellow Card, or SAYC. 2NT response to 1H or 1S opening bid is Game Forcing, agreeing trumps, with slam interest Opener bids 3 of a non-trump suit to show a singleton or void, or else shows point count by jump to 4 of trump suit to show max 14, 3NT 15-17, 3 of trump suit 18+. Oct 12, 2019 See also: Full SAYC convention card. SAYC Bridge Conventions. Here are some of the conventions that should be played under normal circumstances. Trying to put all we play in one place in a. Standard American is a bidding system for the game of bridge widely used in North America promulgated by the American Contract Bridge League. SAYC is widely.
Point Count:Ace = 4 points King = 3 points Queen = 2 points Jack = 1 point Total points in the deck = 40
Suit Rank (lowest to highest): Minors: ♣Clubs ♦ Diamonds Majors: ♥ Hearts ♠Spades Notrump
A good trump suit: A 'fit' of 8 or more cards in one suit, combined in your two hands in any way (4-4, 5-3, 6-2, etc.).
First choice: A major (hearts or spades) if you have at least an 8-card fit.
Second choice: Notrump if you have balanced strength and no fit in a major suit.
Third choice: A minor (clubs or diamonds) if you have at least an 8-card fit and unbalanced strength.
Contract requirements -- What you and your partner need in your two hands to make these contracts:
Suit partscore (bid of 1, 2 or 3 in any suit) -- 18-24 points and at least an 8-card trump fit.
Notrumppartscore (bid of 1NT or 2NT) -- 20-24 points and preferably no 8-card major-suit fit.
Major-suit game (4H, 4S) -- 25+ points and at least an 8-card fit. (Game and slam contracts pay a scoring bonus.)
Minor-suit game (5C,5D) -- 29+ points and at least an 8-card fit.
Notrump game (3NT) -- 25+ points and preferably no 8-card major-suit fit.
Small slam (any bid of 6) -- 33+ points
Grand slam(any bid of 7) -- 36+ points and all four aces.
These contract guidelines apply when you have relatively balanced hands. If you have a strong trump fit, long side suits and/or unusual distribution, you'll need fewer points to make these contracts.
Rules for Opener (the first player to make a bid other than Pass)
Your first bid: Always open the bidding at the 1-level if you have at least 13 points You may open a hand of 11 or 12 points if you have a long suit, distributional strength and/or good quick tricks.
The meanings of your opening bids are:
1NT = Exactly 15-17 points and balanced distribution (at least 2-3 cards in every suit). Balanced distributions are 4-3-3-3, 4-4-3-2 and 5-3-3-2.
1H or 1S = 13-21 points and at least 5 cards in your suit.
1C or 1D = 13-21 points and at least 3 cards in your suit. Choose your longer minor. If you have two 3-card minors, open 1C to keep the bidding low.
This is called a convenient minor -- it tells partner you have opening points, but your hand doesn't meet the requirements for an opening bid of 1H, 1S or 1NT.
2NT = Exactly 20-22 points and balanced distribution.
2C = Artificial bid that starts the description of a very strong hand (22-23+ points). Partner must respond.
2D, 2H or 2S = A weak two-bid -- 5-9 points with a good 6-card suit.
3 of a suit = A weak hand (5-9 points) with a long, strong suit (7 cards).
If you have two 5-card suits, open the higher-ranking suit, then rebid the lower-ranking suit (if you have 5 clubs and 5 diamonds, open 1D and bid clubs at your next turn). This allows partner to choose between your two suits without raising the level of the bidding.
Your second bid(called a rebid), A rebid is made after partner responds to your opening bid.
A new suit (1C - 1H - 1S) -- At least 4 cards in the suit, 13+ points.
Simple rebid of your first suit (1C - 1H - 2C) -- Extra length (usually a 6+ cards) and a minimum (13-15 points). To show a stronger hand with a long suit, you can jump-rebid your suit -- 1C - 1H - 3C.
Single raise of partner's suit (1C - 1H - 2H) -- 4 cards in the suit partner responded and a minimum (13-15 points). To show a stronger hand with a fit, you can jump-raise his suit -- 1C - 1H - 3H or 4H.
Notrump (1C - 1H - 1NT) -- A balanced minimum opener (13-14 points) WITHOUT 4 cards in partner's suit and without a new 4-card suit you could bid at the 1-level. To show a stronger balanced hand, you can open 1NT (with 15-17 points). To show a very strong balanced hand (19 points), open a suit bid and then jump in notrump -- 1C - 1H - 2NT.
As Opener, if you have fewer than 16 points, DON'T go to the 2-level unless:
1 - You're raising partner's suit (to confirm a trump fit (1D - 1S - 2S); or
2 - You're rebidding your own extra-long suit (1D - 1S - 2D); or
3 - You're showing a second suit (4 cards or longer) that is lower in rank than your first suit (1D - 1S - 2C).
Rules for Responder(after your partner opens the bidding):
Respond to partner's opening bid if you have 6 points or more.
If partner opens 1H or 1S and you have 3-card support -- Always raise to confirm the 8-card trump fit.
If partner opens 1C or 1D and you have a 4+-card major -- Always respond 1 of your major.
If you have two 4-card majors, respond the cheaper major to keep the bidding low.
If you have fewer than 10 points, DON'T go to the 2-level unless you're raising partner's suit (to confirm a trump fit) or rebidding your own extra-long suit.
With some unbalanced hands, you'll have to respond 1NT to keep the bidding low.
Your first response (after partner opens one of a suit):
1 of a new suit (1C by partner - 1H by you) = At least 4 cards in your suit and at least 6 points.
2 of a new minor (non-jump) (1H - 2D) = A 4+-card suit and at least 10-11 points.
2 of a new major (non-jump: the auction 1S - 2H) = A 5+-card suit and at least 10-11 points.
Single raise of partner's major (1S - 2S) = At least 3 cards in partner's suit and 6-10 playing points To show a stronger hand with support, make a jump-raise -- 1S - 3S or 1S - 4S.
Single raise of partner's minor (1D - 2D) = At least 4-5 cards in partner's suit, 6-10 points and no 4+-card major suit. To show a stronger hand with support, make a jump-raise -- 1D - 3D.
Notrump (1S - 1NT) = Weak (6-10 points) with no support for partner's suit and no suit you can bid at the 1-level. To show a stronger balanced hand, jump in notrump -- 1S - 2NT or 1S - 3NT.
Jump in a new suit (1S- 3C) = Very strong (18-19+ points) and a long, strong suit. This is ajump-shift.
As Opener OR Responder, you are showing your point-count range any time you:
1 - Open or rebid notrump -- 1C - 1NT 1C - 1S - 1NT 1S - 2H - 2NT
2 - Raise partner's suit (to confirm that you have an 8-card fit) -- 1H - 2H 1C - 1H - 2H 1C - 1H - 1S - 2S
3 - Rebid your own long suit -- 1D - 1S - 2D 1H - 1S - 1NT - 3S
Thelevel you choose for these bids shows whether you have a minimum, invitational or forcing point-count range.
Rules for Overcaller(after an opponent opens the bidding)
1-level suit overcall (1H by left-hand opponent - 1S by you) = 10+ points with a good 5+-card suit.
2-level, non-jump suit overcall (1H - 2D) = 12+ points with a strong suit
Jump overcall (1H - 3C) = Weak hand (5-9 points) with a long, strong suit (6+ cards).
1NT (1H - 1NT) = 15-17 points (some play 15-18) with balanced distribution and stoppers in the opponent's suit.
Double (1H - DBL) = 12+ points, shortness in the opponent's suit, 3+ cards in all unbid suits. This is called a takeout double because it asks partner to take it out of the auction by bidding his longest suit.
© Karen Walker
A copy of the actual ACBL SAYC convention card (dated April 2003) is available at the ACBL website::
Also see Standard American Books
The “ACBL Standard Yellow Card” system, so named based on the original color of the yellow convention card, is one where all partnerships have agreed to play the system exactly as described in this booklet. The object is to provide a simple, modern method that will lead to a good, solid understanding in a partnership when both players have read this booklet.
The beauty of this type of game is that players know in advance not only their own bidding agreements, but those of their opponents. The game is free of complex bidding systems. There are few Alerts and Announcements (none unexpected), and there should be a minimum of director calls.
Few sequences are defined in the later rounds of “ACBL Standard Yellow Card” auctions. Players are free to assign forcing, invitational or non-forcing meanings to natural calls in such sequences. They are not, however, free to introduce their own sophisticated methods in these undefined areas.
The relaxed spirit of the ACBL Standard Yellow Card game is best achieved by group cooperation. Contestants are encouraged to adhere to both the letter and the spirit of this game.
Players may still exercise their bridge judgments, such as opening a four-card major in third seat. The ACBL Standard Yellow Card “normally five-card majors” approach can withstand an occasional deviation. Players who routinely open a four-card major in third seat, however, are not adhering to the spirit of this game. Similarly, partnerships that prefer to use light initial actions are expected to adjust their requirements or enter a concurrent General Conventions Chart event.
Psychs are a sensitive subject to players in this type of game. A very rare, totally unexpected psych is not illegal, but players who wish to psych with any degree of frequency are encouraged to enter other games.
Please read the booklet before entering the game and understand that you have agreed to play the system as described. Enjoy!
If you play in an ACBL Standard Yellow Card game, you have only five choices to make. They involve defensive card play — see DEFENSIVE LEADS AND SIGNALS.
Normally open five-card majors in all seats.
Open the higher of long suits of equal length: 5–5 or 6–6.
Normally open 1Dwith 4–4 in the minors.
Normally open 1Cwith 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 2Copening.
Weak two-bids in diamonds, hearts and spades.
RESPONSES AND LATER BIDDING AFTER A 15–17 1NT OPENING
2Cis “non-forcing” Stayman, meaning that the bidding can stop in two of a suit. Opener rebids 2Hwith 4–4 in the majors. If responder rebids three of either minor, he shows slam interest and at least a five-card suit.
The Jacoby transfer that shows a five-card suit is used for the majors: 2Dis a transfer to hearts, 2His a transfer to spades. Opener accepts the transfer, though he can jump to the three level with 17 points and four-card support for responder’s major. For example:
|2H = normal acceptance of transfer|
|3H = 17 points and four-card support|
If, after the transfer is accepted, responder bids a new suit, that is natural and game forcing. Possible calls after the accepted transfer are:
Pass = content to play 2S.
2NT, 3S= invitational. Over 2NT opener may pass;
3C, 3D, 3H= natural and game forcing.
3NT = asking for a choice between 3NT and 4S.
4S= placing the contract, with a six-card or longer suit.
A2S response requires the 1NT bidder to rebid 3C, which may be passed with a club bust, or responder may rebid 3Dwith a diamond bust. Example:
Pass = club bust
|3H = 17 points and four-card support|
3D= diamond bust (notrump opener passes).
Other responses to 1NT:
3C, 3D= a six-card or longer suit and invitational to 3NT.
3H, 3S= at least a six-card suit and slam interest
4C= Gerber, asking for aces.
|Ace Asking||King Asking|
|1NT — 4C||1NT — 4C|
|4D = 0 or 4 aces||4x = 5C|
|4H= 1 ace||5D = 0 or 4 kings|
|4S = 2 aces||5H= 1 king|
|4NT = 3 aces||5S= 2 kings|
|5NT = 3 kings|
If the player using Gerber makes any bid other than 5C, that is to play (including 4NT).
A direct raise of 1NT to 4NT is natural and invites 6NT. 4NT is slam invitational only because 4Cis available as Gerber (to ask about aces).
INTERFERENCE AFTER A 1NT OPENING BID
If an opponent doubles, all conventional responses are “on.” For example:
|1NT||(Double)||2D||Transfer to Hearts|
If an opponent bids over your 1NT opener, conventional responses like Stayman and transfers are “off.” Bids are natural except for a cuebid, which can be used withgame forcing strength as a substitute for Stayman.
If the opponents intervene over a conventional response, bids carry the samemeaning as if there were no intervention. A bid says, “I’m bidding voluntarily, so I have a real fit with you.”
|2H||2H = Real fit for Hearts, but Pass with only two Hearts (Responder can still bid 2H if appropriate with weak values)|
RESPONSES TO A 2NT OR A 3NT OPENING
Stayman and Jacoby transfers for the majors are used.
Transfer to Hearts and Spades, respectively
Gerber (ace asking)
Invites a slam in Notrump
Transfer to Hearts and Spades, respectively
RESPONSES AND LATER BIDDING AFTER A 1HOR A 1SOPENING
1Hand 1Sopenings show a five-card or longer suit. Responses:
At least four spades, 6 or more points.
6–10 points, denies four spades or three Hearts.
11 points or more, promises at least four of the suit.
Three-card or longer heart support; 6–10 dummy points.
Game-forcing raise (Jacoby 2NT), 13+ dummy points.
|2S, 3C, 3D|
Strong jump shifts. Invites a slam.
limit raise (10–12 dummy points with
Usually five+ hearts, a singleton or void,
Opener’s rebids are natural and standard.
Rebids with a minimum hand (13–16 points):
Rebidding notrump at the lowest available level;
Raising responder’s suit at the lowest level (may have good three-card support);
Rebidding a new suit at the one level or rebidding a new suit at the two level that is lower ranking than the opening suit (not reversing);
Rebidding opener’s suit at the lowest level.
Rebids with a medium hand (17–18 points):
Jump raise or jump rebid of opener’s suit;
Reverse in a new suit, i.e., bid a new suit at the two level which is higher rankingthan the opening suit;
Non-reverse bid in a new suit (this has the wide range of 13–18 points).
With a maximum hand (19–21 or 22 points) opener must make a very strong rebid:
Jump in Notrump;
Double jump raise of responder’s suit or double jump rebid of opener’s suit;
Jump shift in a new suit.
If responder jumps to 2NT over a 1Hor 1Sopening, that is Jacoby2NT, asking opener to show a singleton or void. If opener has no shortsuit, he shows his hand strength;
|3C, 3D, 3S|
Singleton or void in that suit.
Medium hand (15-17).
Maximum hand (18+).
Responder follows up by attempting to sign off in game, bidding 4NTBlackwood, or cuebidding if still interested in trying to cooperate with opener in making the slam decision.
SUBSEQUENT BIDDING BY RESPONDER
If responder has bid a suit at the one level, he next determines whether he wishes to sign off in a partscore, invite game, sign off in game, or force to game and getmore information about opener’s hand.
Bids available for a sign-off in partscore: Pass, 1NT, 2 of a previously bid suit.
|2C||Pass, 2H, 2S|
6–10 points, sign-off in partscore.
Bids available for inviting game: 2NT, 3 of a previously bid suit:
|2D||2N, 3D, 3H, 3S|
11–12 points, inviting game.
After opener rebids in a suit, a new suit by responder is forcing. If the new suit is thefourth suit, the bid may be artificial/conventional.
One-round force, could be conventional.
However, after a 1NT rebid by opener, bids of a new suit at the next higher level arenon-forcing.
Non-forcing. Responder must jump shift to 3Cor 3D to force game.
Second-round forcing bids following a 1NT rebid by opener: a reverse or jump shiftinto a new suit is a game force.
Bids available for signing off in game.
3NT, 4H, 4S, 5C, 5D.
If responder initially bids a new suit at the two level, the same rules apply EXCEPTthat a subsequent jump raise of opener’s first suit to the THREE LEVEL is gameforcing — responder should make a limit raise directly over the opening with 10–12points and at least three-card support:
|2H||2N, 3C, 3H|
Invitation to game (11–12 points).
Preference, not forcing. Responder has 11-12 points and a doubleton Spade.
Game force, could be conventional.
NOTE: Responder promises to bid again if he responded with a new suit at the twolevel unless opener’s rebid is at the game level.
Forcing one round. Responder can limit his hand by bidding 2S, 2NT, 3C, or 3Dat this point. He should not pass, since opener could have 18points (just short of a jump shift rebid).
RESPONSES TO A 1COR A 1DOPENING
A 1Dopener suggests a four-card or longer suit, since 1Cis preferred on handswhere a three-card minor suit must be opened. The exception is a hand with 4–4–3–2 shape: four spades, four hearts, three diamonds, and two clubs, which should be opened 1D.
Responses and later bidding generally follow the ideas set down in the previoussection. Bidding at the one level is up-the-line in principle. Responder needs moretrumps to raise (four to raise 1D; five to raise 1C, though one fewer trump will do in a pinch in a competitive sequence). Responses of 2NT and 3NT are standard:
13-15, game forcing
There is no forcing minor-suit raise.
A 2COPENING, RESPONSES, AND LATER BIDDING
A 2Copening shows at least 22+ points, or the playing equivalent. Responses:
Conventional, could be “waiting” with a good hand not suited to apositive response.
|2H, 2S, 3C, 3D|
Natural and game forcing.
A balanced 8 HCP
If opener rebids 2NT after a 2Dresponse (showing 22–24 points), the sameresponses are used as over a 2NT opening:
Transfers to hearts and spades, respectively.
Inviting a slam in Notrump
If opener rebids a suit over a 2Dresponse, the bidding is forcing to 3 of opener’smajor or 4 of opener’s minor.
SEQUENCE AFTER A WEAK TWO-BID OF 2D, 2H, OR 2S
A weak two-bid shows a six-card suit of reasonable quality and 5–11 HCP. On rareoccasions it may be a very good five-card suit. It is possible to open a weak two with a poor seven-card suit (not good enough to open with at the three level). Responses:
A 2NT response is forcing, showing game interest. (This applies also if theopponents intervene with a double or a bid.) Opener rebids his suit with aminimum weak two (5–8 points). With a maximum hand opener bids anothersuit to show a “feature” (ace or king in that suit); lacking a feature, he raises to 3NT and lets responder place the contract.
Any raise of opener’s suit is to play and could be preemptive. A 3NT response is also to play.
“RONF” on the card means “Raise Only Non-Force.” A new-suit response is forcing one round and shows at least a five-card suit. Opener should raise a major suitresponse with a three-card fit, or perhaps with a doubleton honor.
With no fit for responder’s suit, opener rebids:
With a minimum weak two-bid (5–8 points), rebid the suit at the lowest level.
With a maximum weak two-bid, name a new suit or bid notrump.
Blackwood 4NT is used to ask for aces. Responses show the number of aces bysteps. 5NT is then used to ask for kings; 5NT guarantees the partnership holds allfour aces.
0 or 4 aces
0 or 4 kings
A jump to 5NT (and some 5NT bids when the auction is at the five level) is “GrandSlam Force,” asking partner to bid a grand slam with two of the three top trumphonors;
5NT — 6 of the trump suit = fewer than two top trump honors (A, K, or Q).
— 7 of the trump suit = two of the three top trump honors.
Overcalls show 8–16 points (double and bid the long suit with a stronger hand). The only forcing response is a cuebid of opener’s suit, asking the overcaller about the quality of his overcall:
2S = minimum overcall
Other = extra strength (11 - 12 points minimum)
A 1NT overcall shows 15–18 points and a balanced hand (preferably a stopper inopener’s suit). No conventional responses are used to the 1NT overcall except 2C,which is Stayman.
A jump overcall of 2NT shows at least 5–5 in the lower two unbid suits.
Jump overcalls are preemptive, showing the same value as an opening bid at thesame level:
= A hand that would open a weak two-bid in spades
= A hand that would open 3C
A cuebid overcall when the opponents have bid two suits is natural in either suit.
A cuebid overcall when the opponents have bid only one suit is a Michaels cuebid,showing a 5–5 two-suiter (or more distributional). If the opening is in a minor suit, the cuebid shows the majors; if the opening is in a major, the cuebid shows the other major and an unspecified minor.
= At least 5–5 in the majors, 8 points or more.
= At least 5–5 in hearts and a minor;
Responder can bid 2NT over a major suit cuebid to ask for partner’s minor.
2N (asks for the minor)
|(P)||3C = Club suit.|
|3D = Diamond suit.|
A reopening bid means much the same as a direct seat bid, though it can be lighter at the minimum end. A reopening 1NT after an opponent has opened shows 10–15points. This is a wide range, but there will not usually be a game on for you.
A double is for takeout over an opening partscore bid (4Dor lower); penalty overopening game bids (4Hor higher). A below-game jump response to a takeoutdouble is invitational. To force, responder cuebids opener’s suit.
Versus an opening preempt, an overcall in a suit or Notrump is natural; a cuebid isMichaels.
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There is almost an endless variety of possible sequences, so it pays to have simpleguidelines to prevent bidding misunderstandings.
Bids mean the same things they meant without the intervening bid. Still, it issometimes necessary to pick a bid that would normally have been a second choicewithout the overcall:
Rebid 1NT if RHO has passed instead of bidding (2C)
Cuebidding right-hand opponent’s suit shows values for game without cleardirection for the moment. This is often used to show a game-forcing raise:
|1S||(2C)||3C = game force; usually a raise|
The negative double is used through 2Spromising four cards (at least) in an unbidmajor. Bidding a major at the two level or higher shows 11 or more points and afive-card or longer suit.
|1C||(1D)||(Double) = 4-4 or better in the majors.|
|1D||(1H)||(Double) = Exactly four Spades (1S) promises 5|
|1D||(1S)||(Double) = 4 Hearts and 6+ points or 5 Hearts and 5-10 points.|
If RHO makes a takeout double:
1H, 1S = forcing, point count not limited.
2C = Non-forcing (6-10 points, usually a 6 card suit).
2NT = Limit raise (at least 10 points) — or better.
Redouble = 10 points or more, but it is better to make a moredescriptive bid of 1H, 1S, or 2NT with the appropriate hand.
3D = Preemptive, good trump support but fewer than 10 points.
A Responder’s jump shift after a double is to play:
2H, 2S, 3C = 6+ card suit, like a weak two-bid or preemptive three-bid
A Redouble can have one of three meanings:
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To play if:
Your side is at the four level or higher:
Redouble = Penalty;
The opponents double a conventional bid:
Redouble = Penalty, good diamond suit;
A good hand if their double is for takeout:
Redouble = 10+ points;
SOS, requesting a different suit, if your side is doubled for penalty in a trump suitat the three level or lower:
Redouble = SOS, responder can support at least two of theunbid suits.
Unless otherwise noted elsewhere, any bid or double by an opponent cancels aconvention intended for non-competitive sequences.
2NT = Natural (12-14 HCP).
2D = Natural and positive
If the opponents use a convention (such as Michaels or the unusual notrump), you can double to show at least 10 points, or you can cuebid one of their shown suits to force to game.
3H = Game force.
Double = At least 10 points, probably balanced.
DEFENSIVE LEADS AND SIGNALS
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This is the one area where choices are offered. The following are specified:
Defensive signals when following suit or discarding are “high encourages, lowdiscourages.” Leads are top of touching honors (with choices from A–K–x andinterior sequences).
Pairs must choose from the following options.
Where no card is pre-marked in bold Italics, pairs must mark their leads.
• Which card is led from A–K–x.
Standard Bidding At Bridge With Sayc Pdf To Excel Format
• Which card is led from x–x–x, x–x–x–x, or x–x–x–x–x.
• Whether 4th best, or 3rd & 5th best leads are used.
• Whether 3rd best is led from K–J–10–x, K–10–9–x, or Q–10–9–x
(and fromA–J–10–x, or A–10–9–x vs. notrump).
Must be indicated by circling the cardled.
• Whether or not frequent count signals are given.
It is Declarer’s responsibility to look at the opponents’ carding agreements. In the absence of a circle, cards in bold Italics are presumed to be the agreement.
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If you are playing the ACBL Standard Yellow Card in an open game, you may adddefenses to opponents’ conventions (e.g., unusual vs. unusual, and Mathe over bigclub). Put these convention-defenses in the section “Defenses vs. Opp’s Conventions” on the left-hand side of the convention card.
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SP3 (bk) Rev. 04/03