RESPONDING TO ONE OF A MAJOR
SAYC by Ned Downey

Hand Evaluation: With a fit for partner's major suit, responder should revalue his holding. Add "support points" for shortness in side suits that do not also contain possibly non-working honors. For example, a side suit void may be awarded as much as 5 support points, especially when accompanied by a fourth trump. A singleton receives 3 support points and a doubleton 1 point. The singleton ace would now be worth a total of 7 points, but the singleton queen is worth either 2 HCP or 3 support points, but not both. When adding for support points, do not also include extra value for side suit length - - one or the other, but not both.

With a Minimum Hand (6-9/10 Points):

  • Raise partner's major with three-card support or better.
  • Lacking appropriate support for the major, bid a new suit, four cards or longer at the one level
  • If you cannot do either of the above, bid 1NT non-forcing.
  • A jump raise of opener's suit to the four level shows less than 10 points and five trump. This is pre-emptive.

With an Invitational Hand (Good 10 to bad 12):

  • Raising partner's major suit remains your primary duty. A jump raise to the three level is a "limit raise", showing three or four-card support. Note that a 10 point hand may be treated as invitational when containing a fourth trump and good intermediate cards - - tens and nines. An outside five-card minor suit would also enhance the holding.
  • Lacking sufficient trump support for a limit raise, show a new suit four cards or longer at the one level.
  • If unable to do either of the above, a two-level response in a minor shows four+ cards. A 2H response shows five+ cards.
  • If you cannot do either of the above, bid 1NT non-forcing.

With Game Forcing Values or More:

  • A 2NT response is a game-forcing raise (Jacoby 2NT) showing 4+ trump and 13+ support points. Opener is asked to clarify his distribution and assist responder in evaluating the partnership's prospects for slam. More on this is provided below in the section entitled "Opener's Rebids."
  • New suits, even at the one level, are forcing when made by an unpassed hand.
    With less than 19 points and lacking four-card support for partner, temporize by bidding a new suit, four cards or longer.
  • A jump shift shows a suit of at least four cards and 19+ points.
  • A 3NT response shows a balanced 15-17 points and two-card trump support.