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. Acol is perfectly playable with a 15-17 1NT and indeed this was the original style
vulnerable. At pickup bridge you will be expected to play 12-14 throughout, Stayman and (commonly) red suit transfers.
one of a Suit
Weak No Trump
Opening 2 level:
- Standard Acol
- Benjamin style
The weak no trump
This is a great strength of Acol. Played as 12-14 it is about 60% more common than the strong no trump convention
and really puts partner in charge of the subsequent auction. Open it whenever you can not vulnerable. Vulnerable it
is sensible to pass bad 12 counts especially 4443 or if the points are in short suits.
Don't lose sleep about weak doubletons. Five or even 6-card minors are all right. Opening 1NT on 2=5=3=3 with a
poor heart suit may make it difficult for LHO to call spades. However with 5 card spades you are usually better opening
our boss suit. See my (popular!) page on 1NT philosophy for
more generic thoughts on this area
Having said all this, a minority play weak a strong 1NT, usually 15-17. Furthermore, in 1950's Acol it was
'variable' weak nv and strong vulnerable. To be safe - agree "Acol wnt" with your new partner. If he wants some
or all opening no trumps strong - just reverse the meanings of your 1NT opening and rebid. Both ranges work, but 'weak'
stresses opps more ...
- 1NT defaults to 12-14 balanced. As ever: revalue for excess 10's and 9's, or honours well grouped.
Downvalue KQ stiff or 4333 shape. Trashy 12's are better passed when vulnerable. I bundle in all
sorts of 5332, minor 6322 or even 5422 hands, but some partners won't like this.
- 2 is always Stayman but doesn't promise a 4cM. If responder rebids at the 2 level then he wants to play
there but there is an inference that he has 3 spades
- Default use for 2// is to play. So always ask whether red suit (or full transfers) are played
at pick-up Acol - it's a common online misunderstanding!
- If you agree "RST" then 2 is undefined. Commonly in UK it is used as range enquiry: "bid 2NT if minimum or show suits".
(I think this agreement is vile, but it is commonplace), or transfer into 3 .. with
3 then to play. Best avoided at pickup!
- 1NT - 2NT is invitational
- 3 of a suit defaults to GF, with slam implications
- 3 of a suit after Stayman is played variously. I'd advise you treat it as forcing, but partner might see things
- 4 direct at pickup might (naughtily) be Gerber for aces
- 4NT is invitation Pass if minimum or make ace (0/1/2/3) response if maximum "non-forcing Blackwood"
- If they double 1NT: default xx is for blood and should set up a forcing pass over 4th's escape.
Pass, or call a new suit are "to play"
- If they overcall: default is lebensohl=off, and your double is penalty.
- Default defence to 1NT is penalty double. Natural overcalls. Don't forget that you may still
have game on over a weak 1NT. For this reason (and competitively) I like
to agree simple 2 for majors (Landy) at pickup. A 2NT overcall in EBUland should be a strong 2 suiter.
"" 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/weaknt.htm © Chris Ryall 1987-2008