Bridge: The UK Acol bidding style
This guide to the Acol style of bidding is meant to reflect what one might
expect sitting down with a pickup partner and agreeing to play 'Acol' or 'Benjaminised Acol'.
Unfortunately there is no 'Standard Acol' system and its 4cM Weak 1NT chassis gets much
modified. The main difference from N American methods here is that there is an 8 trick
'strong 2' in addition to 2. Note that there are 2 incompatible
styles of showing these - as laid out below
Reese described Acol Twos: "like the dreadnaughts of old,
seldom used but reassuring by their presence".
one of a Suit
Weak No Trump
Opening 2 level:
- Standard Acol
- Benjamin style
Acol Two level openings
You need to appreciate that there are two completely different ways of playing Acol.
So "Benji Acol" maintains the fast and light opening style of Acol. The freed-up
2/ calls are then used as weak in
a style of your choosing. Default is 5-9 six card. Note that a 10 point nv (or 11 vul)
6cM is still often opened "light" at the one level
Please note that I don't personally recommend Benji. It makes big heart hands in
particular quite difficult to bid and is vulnerable to pre-emption. Albert himself only
played it "for a few seasons". But it is a veritable Lingua Franca amongst
UK tournament and online Acolytes.
You can assume xx opposite and the odd Q/J when assessing your 8 playing tricks.
When in doubt - if 2-3 card support and a key king (or queen) would give fair
play for game, then launch a strong two. A one level opening may be passed out!
2 a 23+NT hand (rebid 2NT) or GF unbalanced
- a modern positive response shows A or KK
- commonly you call 2="negative"
- your own suit should be HHxxx at least, +ve values
- 2NT response is 8+ balanced
- responder calls 2 .. then 2NT with rubbish
– opener's 3 rebid is not totally forcing ( 9½ tricks)
2// show 8-9 trick hand forcing one round
- A strong 2 may be passed in desperation only!
- 2NT is negative (denies A or KK again) say 3-8
- Bidding may then subside in 3 of opener's suit
- Own suit natural and good quality please! GF
2NT = 20-22 balanced. High singleton acceptable
- 3 is commonly simple Stayman (NB: traditionally it was Baron, 'bid suits upward until 3NT', and still occasionally seen)
- 3// to play (unless you have agreed transfers)
A 23-24 balanced hand opens 2 and rebids 2NT -then as above
Older players like their +ve thresholds to be A+K or KKK, but otherwise
.. that's it!
|2 shows an Acol two in any suit
- relay 2 unless you have a really good suit of your own
- 2NT response is 10+, but better avoided
- opener's rebid is 99% forcing one round as per tradition
- opener's 2NT rebid tends to be around 22 (varies, see below)
- - opener's 2NT opening after 2 is around 20 (or vice versa)
- - - opener's 2NT rebid after 2 is around 24
2 shows 23+ balanced or any GF hand
- 2=negative denies A or KK, as per "trad"
- new suit should be sound, A or KK held
- 2NT is 8+ with A or KK
- after openers 2 rebid 2NT = "rubbish"
2/2 openings are weak in a style of your choice
Following a strong opening just bid your hand naturally.
Try to keep the bidding low - your 2 - 2,
3-suit auctions may be particularly inelegant and
Benji is not
kind to 5-5 shapes. Calls of 4 of a suit can be ambiguous. Is ita cue, or a real suit?
Good opponents will also
often preempt (particularly) 2 openings. Opener should then bid
his suit naturally or double with strong balance type. 3rd hand's double is best played
as 'points'. Or he can pass with values in their suit, hoping partner will double for him.
When sitting down to play 'Acol' always ask
'Benji or traditional?' and also check whether transfers are played
"" Style sheet control has failed.
Pages on this site should still be readable, but layout may be spoiled. Your
browser may be out of date, or style sheets disabled !!
www.chrisryall.net/bridge/acol/open2.htm © Chris Ryall 1987-2008