System Summary Form Guidelines 

What is the purpose of this Form?

You already have to submit an ACBL convention card, pre-alert some unusual methods, alert bids when they are made, and explain bids when opponents ask. Why are we asking you to complete yet another “disclosure” form? Essentially, because the ACBL convention card is not designed for experts playing long matches. It includes many things that are of little or no interest to you, and it leaves areas that are of interest inadequately covered. You probably don’t care to know in advance what responses your opponents use to their opening bids, yet about ¼ of the ACBL card is devoted to this. You probably do care what sort of defensive carding opponents will use and when they may vary it. That information is difficult to discover from the ACBL card, as is information about the opponents’ minimum requirement for an opening bid, even though it is often relevant to you both in the bidding and the play. The System Summary Form is designed to help expert pairs provide the sort of information their expert opponents need.

It is each partnership’s obligation to make a good faith effort to complete the System Summary Form. Though some information may be redundant with the ACBL Convention Card, much of it is not available or if available it may be difficult to find and comprehend. Bridge is a game of full disclosure and this form is an effort to allow each pair to better fulfill that obligation. Please put the same kind of effort into preparing the form as you do making sure you and your partner understand your agreements; in subsequent years any review or modification should be extremely easy.

What Should you Include on the SSF?

The list of questions and examples below was developed to aid each partnership in disclosing information that may be relevant to the opponents. The list is by no means complete or equally applicable to each pair. This list of questions is meant only as an aid. Please do not answer a question if does not apply to your partnership. If your partnership has any other agreement that is relevant, please include that information. If you can think of other questions that should be added in future years or have any questions regarding this form, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You should complete the form keeping in mind how you would like other pairs to complete the form for your use. The Golden Rule here is: Give information that you want others to give you. Try to be brief as well as informative.

If you and your partner have discussed any of these areas and have an understanding or have developed an understanding through practice, please describe them on the System Summary. Failure to include them on the form means that there is an assumption of no explicit or implicit agreement. Any information discovered to the contrary may be considered misinformation or constitute a failure to properly disclose an agreement under Law 40.

If your partnership agreements are no different than if you sat down with a good player for the first time, then the only part of the summary that needs special care is the carding section. Each pair has its unique carding methods and declarer should have access to these methods without having to ask questions at the table.

Each player should give their ACBL convention card and the System Summary Form to their screen-mate when they sit down to play, so that the opponent can consult it during the session.

Opening Bid Style

Typically how light can your opening bids be? In third chair?
In which situations and with what suit qualities would you open a four card major?
What do you open with 4-4 in the minors? 4-5?
Do you generally open 1NT with 5 card majors? Off-shape hands (5-4-3-1)? 6 card minor?

Upgrade or downgrade frequently?
Are there any other unusual agreements?


Do you have any artificial opening bids that may be unexpected by the opponents?  (you may exclude Multi, Flannery, Precision 2C, Namyats, Gambling 3NT, all of which will be listed in the first section of the form).
What do your weak two bids look like? Are they often 5 card suits and at what vul? Any suit quality requirements?
Please describe expectations of preempts. Suit quality, side high honors, likelihood of holding a 2-suiter or a side 4-card Major?

What negative inferences are there from the failure to preempt?

Does passing and then bidding a suit have a meaning other than suggesting that suit as trump?

Passed Hand Bidding

What changes do you make when partner is a passed hand?

How light do you open in third seat and does it vary depending on vul and/or on the call you are making?


Responses & Rebids After 1-level openers

Do you never, usually, or almost always respond 1!D over 1!C with a 4 card suit?
Do you often respond to opening bids with very weak hands?
Is a 2/1 response forcing to game? Are there any exceptions?
What is the maximum you would typically have for a 1NT response to 1 of a major?
Do you have to respond 2!C to 1M with a balanced game force, even if clubs is not your longest suit, or do you typically respond 2/1 in your longest/best suit or play 2NT or 3NT to cover those hands?
Do you play any unexpected artificial responses? (you may exclude expected responses such as Drury, Bergen raises)

Are your doubles in competition more takeout or penalty oriented than one might expect?
Are your doubles in competition after partner has bid generally for takeout or for penalties? Do you have any  rules or exceptions which govern their meaning?
Do you have any other special competitive agreements about doubles, such as don’t lead the suit doubled, or an unexpected number of card showing doubles?


What is your 2/1 style in competition?

Do you play any unexpected transfer advances or responses in competition?

Psychics and Tactical bids

Are there any situations in which your partnership is prone to make a tactical call or psychic call?  (If the same type of call has occurred more than once in the past, that’s an agreement).


Do you typically use any leads that would be unexpected by the opponents?
Describe your honor leads against suit contracts. Are they different during the hand?
Describe your honor leads against NT contracts. Are they different during the hand?
Are your spot card leads the same during the hand as on opening lead?
Do you often violate your lead conventions?
If you lead ace from AK, when do you lead the king, and is there ever a reference to another suit?
In what situations in suit and/or no trump would you lead differently with 3 or 4 small after partner has bid the suit?

Carding and Defense

Describe your defensive agreements in order of importance: attitude-count-suit preference.
Do you generally play standard or upside down present count after the first card of the suit is played?
Do you play suit preference in trump frequently?
Do you play Smith? Against NT only? Please describe your agreements.
What are your exceptions to general defensive carding rules?
Are there any special agreements to wake up partner to a holding in a different suit?
Are there any other agreements involving defensive carding that your opponents wouldn’t expect?
If dummy hits with shortness after the lead of the ace or king, what are your agreements?  
Are there any situations that become suit preference by partnership agreement that would be unexpected by the opponents?