ACOL

GENERAL APPROACH
4 cards opening. Lowest if not touching, highest if touching except with 4-4 in majors (1H). 
Open the higher of long suits of equal length: 5-5 or 6-6.

Notrump openings show a balanced hand.

Strong artificial 2C opening.
Strong two-bids in diamonds, hearts and spades.


Index
General Approach
Responses to 1 in suit
Further after opening on 1-level 
Responses and later bidding after a 12-14 1NT opening
2C opening, responses and later bidding
Sequence after a strong two-bid of 2D,2H or 2S

Responses to a 2NT opening

Opponents Have Opened The Bidding, Take Out And Other Doubles

Opponents Have Opened The Bidding - Overcalls

Opponents Intervene - We Have Opened The Bidding
Slam bidding
Defensive leads and signals


Responses to 1 in suit


Further after opening on 1-level

NT-rebids

1NT rebid = 15-16, systemically denies a 4cM that could have been shown at the 1-level, unless you agree to play 2C as a staymanic type bid. Now,

Jump 2NT rebid = 17-18, systemically denies 4cM that could have been shown at 1-level as above. Now,

Non-jump 2NT rebid = 15-20, GF not willing to commit hand to 3NT.

Jump 3NT rebid from 2-level =15-16 and a doubleton in responder's suit.

Jump 3NT rebid from 1-level = 19-20 and NO interest in other likely games.

1M - 2M = 5-9, new suit now is long suit trial. Further raise to 3M is pre-emptive.

1any - 1M; 2M - 2NT = game try or better (F). With maximum bid past 3M; with minimum, rebid "any" or 3M with 4 trumps.

Other:

              1C  -  1D
              1H  -  1S
              Now 1NT rebid = 15+ GF. Rebids by responder at 2-level NF over 2C/D/H by opener. 3-level rebids are GF.

  • Any possibly ambiguous bid shows values or length in that suit. eg. we "fragment" rather than "splinter", we show stoppers rather than ask for stoppers.
  • Over 3M when we have a known fit in the major; 3NT is natural if 3M was non-forcing; but is a trump cue if 3M was forcing.
  • Over 3m, 3NT is always at least a suggestion to play.
  • A simple raise of responder's 2-over-1 is invitational(NF). A jump raise to 4 of a minor is GF and suggests slam interest. Hands worth "3.5" minor raise must find another bid.
  • 1S - 2H promises 5cH but 2m promises only 4c suit.
  • New suit at four level after partner has shown strength is a cue showing a hand too strong to raise partner's last bid suit directly.

        egs.  1C - 1S                             1H - 1S
                3H - 4D = strong H raise     3H - 4C/D = cue, H agreed. 

 


Responses and later bidding after a 12-14 opening: 

The 1NT opening shows a balanced hand of 12-14HCP with no 5 card major, unless Qxxxx or worse. Responses are:
  • 2C = Stayman. Types of Hands:-
    •  weak going to pass opener's reply.
    •  balanced hand with 4cM, at least I but no slam interest.
    •  strong GF with 5+ minor. Rebids 3C/D over opener's response.
    •  slam interest 6-4 in M's
  •  2D/H = transfers. New suit rebid is GF. Now jump to 4M shows very mild slam interest. Jump in NS is a splinter with slam interest. (6331, 7321 shapes).
  •  2S = range probe. Types of Hands:-
    •  I hand to 3NT w/o 4cM.
    •  Strong balanced hand, slam interest.
    •  4441 hand slam interest.
  •  2NT = forces 3C. Types of Hands:-
    •  Hand that wants to play 3C or 3D (weak).
    •  Slam interested single suited M hand. Rebids 3M, over which 3NT is a cue.
  •  3C/D = I hand to 3NT with goodish 6c minor.
  •  3H/S = GF, fragment in bid M. Either 5-4 or 6-4 in the minors. Bid of other M asks responder to bid 5c+ minor. Raise of M suggests playing Moysian.
  •  4C/D = TEXAS, no slam interest, but creates a forcing auction typically 9-13 pts.
  •  4H/S = hand not interested in defending, to play.
  •  4NT = non forcing blackwood, invites partner to show aces if maximum.

Some Continuations

1NT - 2C ; 2D - 2H/S = weak. Inference is 5cM bid and 4cOM.
1NT - 2C ; 2H - 2S = weak. Inference is have 5c minor also. Opener bids 2NT for minor.
1NT - 2S ; 2NT = minimum. Now 3suit is Baron (slam interest), higher = maximum. Baron response.
1NT - 2C ; bid : with 6-4 in M's ( & slam) rebid 6cM at 3 level, unless opener bids it, then jump to 4 minor showing a control in the suit.

Intervention Over 1NT

If 1NT is doubled for penalties then:
  •  pass : to play
  •  xx : to play, or penalise the opponents should they remove, setting up a forcing pass auction.
  •  suit : to play.

Overcalled

  •  Natural Overcall
  • All doubles at 2-level are takeout unless a penalty pass has been made. Pass of XX, to play 1NT redoubled, being classified as a penalty pass.
    After 3-level overcall, double is values and a new suit is natural and forcing. Except after 2NT for two known suits.

  •  Conventional Overcall
  • Double shows values, suggesting ability to penalty double at least one of "their suits". It creates a forcing auction. Doubles by opener as described in (A) above; but all later doubles by responder are penalty. Responder with a hand not interested in penalty doubling opponents employs reverse lebensohl or passes and then later doubles which is for takeout.

    Bidding their suit is takeout. If the two suits are known the higher cue, if economical, suggests length in higher unbid suit.

  •  Reverse Lebensohl
  • Simple 2 and 3 level bids = NF, except 3C is forcing. Slow auctions (when have choice) through 2NT shows a stopper. "Slow = Shows".

Double Of Stayman/Transfer

Opener bids:-
  •  pass = denies support after transfer, denies a 4cM after Stayman OR a hand which intends to pass the redouble.
  •  XX = happy to accept transfer, shows at least one 4cM after Stayman. Suggests may be best if partner were declarer.
  •  bid = acceptance of a transfer shows support, and 2M after Stayman shows 4cM. To bid shows some reason to be declarer. 2D over Stayman shows 5 diamonds.
Responder bids :-
  •  over pass : redouble if would have sat a penalty redouble by opener otherwise bid normally.
  •  over anything else: bid normally.
  •  If responder has Staymanned on a weak "running" hand he rebids 2D over the pass or XX by opener.

2C opening, responses and later bidding:  

23+ balanced, or 9+ tricks in a Major or any GF.

Responses:

  • 2D = waiting
  • suit = natural goodish suit 5+, 3 of a minor shows a good 6c suit.
  • 2NT = 7-9 pts Q's and J's, at most one king, balanced.

Continuations

  • Jump by responder is a splinter agreeing opener's suit.
  • Jump by opener over a "non-suit" bid by responder shows a long solid suit and sets it as trumps.
  • Jump by opener over a natural suit bid agrees the suit as trumps and is an asking bid in the bid suit. Jump in NT is a trump ask. Step responses are:
    • no control; no A or K of trumps
    • 3rd round; A or K but no Q
    • 2nd round; AQ or KQ
    • 1st round; AK
    • 1st round; AKQ
    • Note:- combine steps 1 & 2 if next step is game in trumps.
  • When opener's rebid is 3C, responder's 3D bid is a neutral catchall bid while 3NT shows a diamond suit and denies a 4cM.
  • After 2C - 2D; 2M - 2NT = raise of opener's major, 3M = would have bid 2NT in standard.
  • New suit by opener after suit agreement is an asking bid. eg 2C - 2D; 2M - 2NT now a NS is an asking bid. If it is in trumps the steps are:
    •  xxx
    •  Qx, xxxx
    •  Qxx, Jxxx
    •  A or K
    •  A or K plus one extra undisclosed trump length
    •  2 of A,K,Q.
  •  Responder cannot Blackwood. eg 2C : 3C 3S : 4NT = trump cue, spades set.
  •  3NT by opener over 2D is 25-26 balanced normal system applies, only a level higher.
Intervention The auction is "forcing" at all levels. Thus X's are penalty (in direct seat) and the pass is takeout.

Responders pass of intervention = would have bid 2D.
 


Sequence after a strong two-bid of 2D,2H or 2S:  

2D/H/S = strong, 8 playing trick hands, forcing for at least 1 round this is my second suit. 

Responses to 2D/H/S

  •  2NT = negative, less than an A and a K
  •  suit = Game forcing 5+ cards 8+ HCP
  •  raise = Game forcing 4(3) card support. A double raise shows a weaker hand.
  •  3NT = 8-11 HCP balanced.

Responses to a 2NT opening:

Stayman/Puppetstayman and Jacoby transfers for the majors are used.

2NT - ?
  •  3C = Stayman (Puppetstayman if agreed)
  •  3D/H = transfers.
  •  3S = both minors, at LEAST GF.
  •  3NT = To play.
  •  4C/D = single suited slam hands.
  •  4H = slam forcing, single suited in hearts.
  •  4S = slam forcing, single suited in spades.

Opponents Have Opened The Bidding, Take Out And Other Doubles

Responses to a Take Out Double

  •  simple bid of a suit = up to 10 pts.
  •  1NT = 7-10. But occasionally may have a good 6 pts and an awkward hand.
  •  2NT = 11-12.
  •  With a choice tend to respond in a suit rather than NT's.
  •  To respond in a minor doesn't deny a passed over Major suit, especially if the opponent's suit is in between the minor and major suits. eg. after (1H) - X - (P) - ? may decide to bid 2 of a minor then compete with 2S over the opponent's expected 2H with 4-4.
  •  Jumpshift response = 9-11 pts and reasonable 4cM but if in a minor will always have a goodish 5c suit and 10-11 pts.(NF).
  •  Double jumpshift response to 3-level = intermediate, a point stronger than (point 2 above) with a good 5c suit. (NF).
  •  Cue by responder = forcing to agreement, responder guarantees another bid. Thus there is no need for doubler to jump unnecessarily.
  •  Continuations:
    •  Immediate 2NT by either player is GF.
    •  Return cue by doubler is a slam try with control of cue suit, typically 4441 hand.
    •  Jumpshift by doubler shows strong single suited hand, too strong to overcall originally.
    •  Jumpshift by cue-bidder shows strong single suiter, slam interest but NO control of the cue suit.
  •  Jump cue by responder = strong single-suiter, slam interest with control of the cue suit.

Further Competition after a Take Out Double

  •  (1m) - X - (1M) -
    •  X = penalty suggestion, 4c or &H weakish 5c suit in M.
    •  2m = normal cue, as for (1)(d).Ignore 1M.
    •  2M = natural, good 5c suit in M as for (1)(c).
  • (1C) - X - (1D) -
    •  2C = natural over short C, o/w cue.
    •  2D = normal cue.
    •  X = responsive.
  • if opponents bid 2 suits, NT guarantees a stopper in the 1st bid suit but not the second. As doubler may be a little short of an opening bid if he has good shape, ranges are: 1NT = 8-11. 2NT = 12-13.

Rebids by Take Out Doubler after a Simple Response

  •  Rebid in a M shows considerable extra strength, although not a 100% forcing. But if responder has replied 1NT, showing definite values, a rebid in a M is effectively a GF.
  •  Rebid in a minor shows a good hand, but doesn't guarantee as much as a rebid in a M. 
  •  Jump rebid = GF single suiter.
  •  Cue-bid = general GF, not a genuine single suiter.
  •  If the doubler, through competition, is forced to make a non-jump rebid in a M at the three level then the auction is GF.
  •  Cheapest NT = 19-21. Continuations as if rebid 1NT or 2NT in a competitive auction.

When 2NT is also available as Takeout

Partner hasn't shown any values. (If partner shows values then 2NT is natural).

2NT rather than double shows extra length in the bid suit and/or four cards in the lower ranking outstanding suit. If an unbid suit can be bid below 2NT then 2NT always show extra length in bid suit.

Summary:

  •  2NT = extra length and emphasis on lower unbid suit.
  •  X = normal takeout, when 2NT is available shows at least equal length in unbid suits.
  • Same principles apply if auction at one-level and 1NT overcall can't be natural (passed hand).

Other Doubles - When Opponents have opened the Bidding

  •  (1H) - P - (1NT) - X = takeout double of 1H.
  •  (1S) - P - (P) - X (2S) : X = penalty. 2NT = takeout.
  •  (1H) - P - (P) - X (2H) : X = penalty. 2NT = minors.
  •  (1NT) - P - (2C/D/H) : X = would have penalty doubled 1NT.
  •  (1H) - P - (P) - X (2D) : X = penalty.
  •  (1H) - 2C - (2D) - X = takeout, spades with club tolerance. 2H = cue raise. 3D = GF. With only one unbid suit the higher cue is a general GF.

Opponent's Pre-empt

When opener competes over a pre-empt he assumes you have a useful 7-8 count.

     

  •  After 3 of a minor - natural bidding and continuations.
  • X = takeout. bid = minimum opening hand 6c suit. 3NT = to play.

  •  After 3 Major - responsive 3NT after a takeout double. (3M) : X : (P) : 3S = 0-8. 3NT = Responsive. 4m = 0-8, 5c minor. Game = 8+, 5c+ suit. 4NT = to play.
  • eg. with AJxx after (3H) - X - (P) - ? xx bid 3NT and continue with 4S over 4m Axx to show exactly 4cS and game going values. Qxxx

  •  After 4C/D/H - double is takeout. Response of 4NT after (4H) : X asks doubler to pick a minor.
  •  After 4S - double is takeout but doubler must be prepared or responder to pass on balanced hands. 4NT after (4S) : X says pick a suit. An immediate 4NT over 4S is "unconditional" takeout.

Doubling A Splinter Bid

1st Priority = suggesting a save. Otherwise (if profitable save unlikely) says lead lower unbid suit or unbid suit if only one.

Opponents Have Opened The Bidding - Overcalls

  •  When partner overcalls, assume he has a minimum opening hand, although he may have up to 16 or 17 pts.
  •  Cue-bid of Opponent's suit - if their opening bid guarantees
    •  less than 3 cards then cue = natural ; 2NT = minors
    •  3 or more cards then cue = highest plus lowest unbid suits. 2NT = lower unbid suits. Exception, in 4th seat: (1m) : P : (1NT) : 2m = both Majors.
  •  Jump overcalls are weak, but when vulnerable will have a minimum opening hand with good shape.
  •  Direct 1NT overcall = 15-18. Responses unchanged including transfer into their suit. If doubled, as if 12-14 NT was doubled in balancing seat. Except cue = strong single suiter and 2NT is GF two suiter.

Responses to an Overcall

  •  Direct raises tend to be pre-emptive.
  •  1NT = 8-11.
  •  2NT = 12-13.
  •  3NT = 14-15.
  •  New suit (non-jump) = constructive free bid (NF).
  •  Jumpshift into new suit = good 6c suit, GF. But
  •  Jumpshift when R.H.O. has bid = fit showing.
  •  Cue = good H.C.P. raise, as if we'd opened and opponents had overcalled, or if R.H.O. had passed, could be any GF which is not single suited. If R.H.O. has bid a third suit, to cue that suit is the general GF.

Protective Bidding in 4th Seat

After (1 suit) - P - (P) -
  •  1NT = 11-14 continuations as if opened 1NT.
  •  X = assume opening hand but may be less with good shape.
  •  bid = 9-15.
  •  2NT = 20-22. Usual continuations.
  •  Jumpshift = 14-16, good 6c suit. Not quite good enough to double then bid 6c suit.

Jump Cue-Bid

  •  Shows solid seven card minor which is angling for 3NT.
  •  About 12-17 pts.
  •  Responder bids 3NT with a stopper (to play). With a poor hand bids his weaker minor to play. All other bids are cues (minor set) and 4NT is simple BW. 5C is to play 5 of a minor.

Opponents open a Weak Two in a Major

  •  X = takeout. Now reverse Lebensohl.
  •  2NT = minors takeout.
  •  cue = bid 3NT with a stopper. Strong Minor. With a poor hand and no stopper, responder bids four of his weaker minor.
  •  4C = GF 2-suiter C + OM.
  •  4D = GF 2-suiter D + OM.

Opponents op..ak two in Major

  •  X = 13-16 HCP balanced(ish) primarily take out.
  •  2M = natural overcall. But possibly only strong 4c if short in OM.
  •  2NT = 16-19 HCP bal
  •  3 suit = natural.
  •  4C = GF 2-suiter C + S.
  •  4D = GF 2-suiter D + S.
  •  With GF 2-suiter with hearts can (relatively) safely start with 2H
  •  Same structure over (2D) : P : (2M) : ? as can't assume bid M is opener's Major.

Opponents Flannery 2D

  • X = values, at least 5 cards (total) in the Majors.
  • 2H = takeout.
  • 2S = natural.
  • 2NT = minors.

Over 3NT Gambling

  •  4 minor = both M and longer in this minor.
  •  X = values, penalty oriented, creates a forcing auction.

Defense To Their Strong Club

  •  X = Clubs + Hearts / Diamonds + Spades
  •  1D = Diamonds + Hearts
  •  1H = Hearts + Spades
  •  1S = Spades + Clubs
  •  1NT/2NT = minors.
  •  higher bids are preemptive and primarily single suited.

Opponents Open 1NT

  •  Double of 1NT shows about 15+ pts, maybe a couple less with a good suit or good texture. Responder to the doubler has a forcing pass available if the auction is BELOW 2S. If opponents run to 2H or below, pass by responder shows some values. All future doubles are penalty.
  •  ASPRO is suggested, but you can of course use another convention against 1NT

Opponents Intervene - We Have Opened The Bidding

Opponents Double One of a Suit

  •  XX = 9.5+ pts. Denies primary trump support. All subsequent doubles are penalty.
  •  new suit at one level = F1.
  •  new suit(non-jump) at two level = NF.
  •  1NT = 7-10.
  •  2NT = limit raise or better.
  •  jumps into new suit = "fit showing" (below game).
  •  3NT = to play.

Opponents Overcall Naturally

  •  new suit at one level = F1.
  •  new suit(non-jump) at two-level = NF, "constructive free bid".
  •  X = takeout up to 4D. Doubles of 4H and especially 4S must be prepared for partner to pass.
  •  cues= good H.C.P. raise at least to the next level of opener's suit. Except a JUMP cue specifically to the 3 level is a stopper ask for 3NT. Jump cues to the 4-level and double jump cues show a void in the cue suit.
  •  jumps into new suit = "fit showing" (below game).
  •  1NT = 7-10.
  •  2NT = 11-12.
  •  3NT = 13-15, no interest in other games.

Direct Raises

A direct raise of opener's suit tends to be pre-emptive.

Over 2NT for the Minors

If the opponents bid 2NT for the minors then:
  •  3C = limit raise or better.
  •  3D = GF, 5+ cards in other major
  •  3M = 2.5M raise.
  •  Double says all future doubles are penalty.
Generally, if opponents make a two-suited overcall and both suits are known, cue of lower ranking suit is a good raise of opener's suit and a cue of the higher ranking suit shows a strong hand with the 4th suit.

Constructive Free Bids

After intervention, bids at the 2 level and bids at the 3-level (iff the intervention was 2NT or higher) are NOT 100% forcing but are "constructive free bids". They show from a GOOD 8pts to a hand just short of a GF. Maximum of say 12pts or slightly more if minor suit interest.

The auction continues as if responder has made a simple 2-over-1 bid with no intervention, except that opener may pass with a bare minimum AND the following specific exceptions:

1D - (1S) - 2H - (P)   and   1H - (1S) : 2D - (P)
3C = NF.                         3C = NF.

But note, if 1S is raised to 2S then 3C becomes forcing (normal).

Corollory: A new suit or 2NT rebid by responder after he has made a takeout double is GF.

eg.  1C - (1S) - X - (P)
      2C - (P)  - new suit = GF.
                     2NT = GF.

Fit Showing Jumps

Apply after partner has opened AND R.H.O. has made a bid (including double). Now new suit jumps guarantee 9+ cards in the two suits. The auction is forcing to the next level of the "anchor" suit.

Jumps into game are to play.

Note: Fit Showing Jumps also apply afer partner has overcalled and R.H.O. has bid.

Enemy Pre-emption

1Y - (3 suit) - cue = raise of Y. 4NT = KCB.
1m - (4 suit) - 4NT = general slam try in opened minor(F). cue = freaky two suiter.
1M - (4 suit) - 4NT = general slam try in opened Major WITH control in opponents suit. 5M = slam try in Major WITHOUT control. cue = freaky two suiter. Other responses are described in sections (1) to (6).

High Level Competition

General aim over pre-empts is to get to correct game not to bid "guessing" slams. Thus in the auctions not covered in (7) above, the cue-bid's major aim is to get to the correct game ie "choice of game cue bids". Hands with more than possible slam interest make a takeout double to begin with if one is available.

eg.  1C  - (1H) - X - (3H)
      4H  = choose a game.
      4NT = choose a minor suit game.
      X   = hand not strong enough to insist on game OR a hand
             which is going to slam if any encouragement from
             partner is forthcoming.

Game Try Double

When there is no suit bid available, double is purely a game try. eg. 1S - (2H) - 2S :- (3H) X = game try. When a trial suit is available, double is a game try but also conveys co-operation if responder chooses to pass (ie good high card strength, two plus cards in opponents suit) eg. 1S - (2D) - 2S - (3D) X = game try, but happy to defend if responder passes.

Competitive Double

We have agreed a suit and opponents have bid and raised a suit or if a repeat takeout double is made in the direct seat. A double in these situations shows extras and a defensive hand. Its says I've got too much to pass.

NT rebids by Opener when Responder has made a Takeout Double

Keep up to strength. 1NT rebid shows 15-16. Non-jump rebid of 2NT shows 15-16, but may be a good 14 (double stopper) or ugly 17.

Other Auctions

  •  1m - (1NT) - 2C = Stayman, not enough to penalty double.
  •  1S - (X) - P : (2D) and 1D : (X) : P : (2S) use 2NT as take out.
  • Other takeout Doubles:

  •  1H - (P) - 2D - (3C) : X = takeout.
  •  1H - (P) - 1S - (3C) : X = takeout, but more a good hand, with 3-5-4-1 bid 3D.
  •  1H - (1S) - 2C - (2S) : X = takeout.

Slam bidding:

Cue Bidding

  •  Cheapest cue bid is made.
  •  Cue aces first, kings second. On occasions, especially if you are known to be weak, it is necessary to cue a second round control before first round control in that suit has been shown or denied.
  •  Below game, return a cue only if slam appears possible - with a poor minimum return to the trump suit. If partner cues again, or cues above game you must return the cue if possible.
  •  To cue above five of the trump suit is a try for seven.
  •  If either partner is able to judge the correct final contract he should bid it as soon as possible.
  •  If a cue bid is doubled, redouble shows second round control of that suit, to pass is neutral conveying some interest.

Grand Slam Force

5NT is only GSF if a JUMP to 5NT has been made. After a 2C opening. GSF is the preferred meaning over a trump asking bid.

Responses:

  •  holding none of the top three honours, sign off in 6 of the trump suit.
  •  holding 2 of the top three honours bid 6NT.
  •  holding all 3 top honours bid 7C. Both 6NT and 7C allow partner to correct.
  • If there is space available between 5NT and 6 of the trump suit show the following in order:

    •  One of the top three.
    •  One of the top two plus an extra undisclosed trump.
    •  One of the top two plus two extra undisclosed trumps.

5M Raise

A direct raise of an agreed major to the 5-level shows interest in six, but suggest trump weakness. Partner should accept IF his own trumps are strong. EXCEPT: When there is exactly one unbid suit (or when the opponents have bid exactly one suit) when it means bid six if you can control the unbid suit.

Keycard Blackwood

  •  When a suit is agreed or a JUMP to 4NT agrees a suit, 4NT is KCB.
  •  ANY JUMP to 4NT is BW, the jump agreeing the last naturally bid suit.
  •  4NT is NOT BW if the 4NT bidder has cue-bid or if 4NT could have "sensibly" been bid at an earlier opportunity as BW.
  •  4NT is BW if it is bid at the first opportunity after a suit has been agreed.

Defensive leads and signals:

Leads:
  •  Overlead honours - except with AK and a singleton lead the K and switch to singleton.
  •  4th Best.
  •  From 3 small - varies:
    •  vs NT usually top unless partner's suit (and haven't supported) then low.
    •  vs Suit usually MUD unless partner's suit then low is often best giving count.
  •  2nd best from 4 small (usually).
  •  Top from 5 small.

Signals

  •  WE LEAD : HONOUR give attitude unless cash out (count). LOW give count if can't beat dummy's card.
  •  THEY LEAD : give count unless unimportant.
  •  DISCARDS : first discard often attitude, later discards are count or random.
  • When attitude in the suit led is KNOWN, give count (or possibly suit preference if obvious). If we lead and there is any doubt about the situation give attitude.


Edited by Woody from several documents found on Internet for Bidding Quest