Bridge Playing SAYC Is it a rule for partner to announce to the defenders what an opening bid (eg '1C minimum 3') means

4 Answers 4


I'm going to go just a bit stronger than Ruds here, assuming ACBL rules here.

Unless the ACBL alert chart mentions a specific announcement, you must not announce the meaning of partner's bid unless asked. That is conveying information to your partner (conveying your interpretation of it), and is explicitly illegal, and may involve a penalty if a director is called.

Further, if it does call for an alert, you must only say "Alert" and no other information unless asked. Again, providing that information also informs your partner. (This may vary in high-level tournaments, where separate rooms or screens are used.)

The specific announcements - 1NT range and 1c shortness - are marked in blue on your convention card (indicating an announcement is appropriate). Anything else - saying "Weak" after a weak 2, for example - is inappropriate.


It depends on which organization's umbrella you're playing under. If you're playing duplicate bridge in the US, this is the ACBL, and you generally don't have to announce the meaning of the bid.


  • For natural 1NT openings, announce the agreed point range.

  • For non-forcing 1C and 1D openings that do not promise at least 3 cards in the suit, announce "may be 2" (or 1, or 0, per your agreement).

  • Most conventional openings must be alerted (ie, you say "alert" when your partner makes the bid).

See the 2021 ACBL alert procedures for more details.

Edited to add: When it's an opponent's turn to bid or play, you must always truthfully answer questions about your agreements with partner about partner's bids.


To give a non-US example, the English Bridge Union's rules (from the Blue Book, chapter 4) are:

  • exchange system cards at beginning of round (which looks like this), the front page of which has:
    • General system description
    • 1NT opening and responses
    • 2-level openings and responses
    • Other Aspects of System which Opponents Should Note
  • Announce non-forcing 1m openings that could be on 2 or fewer cards "May be 2", "May be 1", "May be 2, could have 5 diamonds".
  • Announce range of 1NT and 2NT openings; "12-14", "15-17, may contain a singleton", "20-21".
  • Alert 1-level openings that are not natural, unless Announced.
  • Announce 4-card Stayman after 1NT-p and 2NT-p
  • Announce Transfers: 1NT-p-2H, "Spades".
  • Announce 2-level suit openings, if they are natural:
    • "Strong, forcing"
    • "Strong, not forcing"
    • "Intermediate"
    • "Weak"
  • Alert 1-level openings that are not natural, unless Announced.
  • Alert non-Announced 2-level suit openings.

They've made a really nice table of all the Alerting rules. So, similar to the ACBL, but customized to suit their bridge population.

As explained, other Regulating Authorities have different rules, and you should follow the ones of the RA you play under. For rubber bridge, it is common to have a fixed system, so there aren't any "announcements"; if you are permitted your own system with this partner, either the club will have rules for that, or people follow the duplicate rules in force in their area (out of habit, if nothing else).


As ruds says, it depends not on what system you play, but on where you are (strictly 'whose rules you play by'). But the important thing is any conventional bid must be alerted **, so that you are not misleading the opponents. If your 1C bid shows an opening hand with strength in clubs. it is not conventional, so need not be alerted.

** Unless it is announced, which is needlessly complex for this question, and doesn't apply here.

  • 2
    "announced" absolutely applies, as that's exactly what the question is referring to (that's the opposite of "may be short", and is not announced, but perhaps is said out of confusion with that announcement).
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 17:24
  • 1
    And - 1c opening hand with strength in clubs is not alertable, I don't believe, at least in the ACBL. Natural bids (bids that show the suit mentioned) are almost never alerted, with only a few exceptions (and 1c is not one).
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 17:26

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