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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. Apart from the gambling 3NT it's prempts are fairly standard. The issue here is whether you have agreed 'Benji'. If not - you won't have a weak two bid in your armamentarium.

Acol summary

Responding to
one of a Suit


Weak No Trump

Opening 2 level:
- Standard Acol
- Benjamin style


Slam Bidding


Play conventions


Acol preempts

Although there is not too much difference from other standard styles you should note that your traditional/Benjamin decision will affect judgements.
  • In "traditional" 3 level majors are as usual, but you might choose to bid these occasionally with a 6 card suit
  • In "Benji" the 2H/S openings should include those mimsy 7222's and 3 level prempts have more shape
    don't forget - playing 'trad' those Acol 2H/S's are strong!
  • A new suit opposite a preempt is a 1 round force, invites support
  • In "Benji" 2NT to a weak two defaults to Ogust .. show points and quality
  • A new suit over 4 level preempt is a cue inviting slam
  • A double once partner has preempted is for business

You should also know about the Acol "gambling" 3NT opening showing AKQ(J)xxx in a minor and no outside control. In 3rd hand the 3NT is more powerful. but generally still has a running minor. The standard lead against gambling 3NT is an ace.

Acol Road North London sign (click for a map)

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