Acol System

The Acol System is used by many bridge players around the world, and is employed mainly in British tournament play. It is a different system than the American 5-Card System. For a list of further Bidding Systems available to the bridge player, click on the icon below.

The Acol System was the brain-child of bridge players, among whom were Mr. Maurice Harrison-Gray, Mr. Iain Macleod, Mr. J.C.H. Marx, Mr. Terence Reese and Mr. S.J. Simon. The history of the Acol System is rather unique in that it was first employed in 1934 in a relatively small North London Bridge Club located on Acol Street, from whence the name. The bridge players mentioned above relied heavily on the early writings about the Game of Bridge written by Mr. Ely Culbertson.

If you wish to improve your understanding of this Bidding System, then we recommend the purchase of the following two books. which you can buy at Amazon or Baron Barclay.

The following are several Basic Guidelines for the Acol System.
The list is definitely incomplete, but the idea is to understand the basics first, and that is our purpose and intention.

If you would like anything added, please let us know and we shall do our research and homework.

The Weak No Trump is applied when the players are not vulnerable. The original No Trump range was 13-15HCPs, but this range has been reduced to 12-14HCPs. Always take a look at the Convention Chart to ascertain the 1 No Trump range.

The Strong No Trump is applied when the players are vulnerable. The original No Trump range was 16-18HCPs, but this range has also been reduced to 15-17HCPs. Always take a look at the Convention Chart to ascertain the 1 No Trump range.

Some bridge players apply the Weak No Trump and the Strong No Trump at any vulnerability. The opponents must use caution and make certain which No Trump range is used at which vulnerability, if at all.

Limit Raises and No Trump Responses

Both Limit Raises and No Trump Responses are not forcing.
After an opening bid of 1 , a response of 2 No Trump or 3 is encouraging, but not forcing. Each response shows about 11 points.

Jump rebids are not forcing unless they are in a new suit.

If the opening is one of a suit, then the required strength and Quick Trick ability can be slightly lower than in American methods, especially if the opener holds a 6-card suit.

Two-Over-One responses were originally made even on weak hands with about 8 points, but are presently played using the strength required for traditional American Standard, which is approximately 10 points. However, some Acol players feel that this response is forcing to at least 2 No Trump.

Fourth Suit Forcing bids are used conventionally by most Acol bridge players.
2 means an artificial strong opening and is forcing to 2 No Trump.

An Acol Two-Bid is forcing for one round.

Gambling 3 No Trump equals a long and strong Minor suit with at least two other suits protected with a stopper.

4 No Trump Opening is a bid asking for specific Aces. The partner may not have passed previously when this bid is applied.

There are other features used in the Acol System.

Some are Basic and some are Optional.
We have not filled in all the blanks yet.

  • Acol Direct King Convention
  • Baron Slam Try
  • Benjamin
  • Blackwood
  • Crowhurst
  • Culbertson 4-5 No Trump
  • Gerber Convention
  • Grand Slam Force
  • Flint
  • Interest-Showing Bids
  • Kock-Werner Redouble
  • Responsive Double
  • Roman Blackwood
  • Roman Two Diamonds
  • Sharples
  • Short-Suit Game Try
  • Stayman Convention
  • Strong No Trump After Passing
  • Swiss
  • Texas
  • Trial Bid
  • Unusual No Trump
  • Void-Showing Bids
  • Weissberger

If you and your partner would like to study the Acol System more, then we strongly suggest purchasing the appropriate books describing the conventions and methods used. It is a different System and can be very effective.

A lot of time and effort has gone into this Acol System by many good bridge players, and the result has been very positive based on the popularity of the Acol System. We suggest you at least acquaint yourself with the basics and then make your decision.