That Acol two….

June 6, 2009 at 9:59 pm 7 comments

The question posed last was this:

Nil vul your partner opens 2H, at least Acol and forcing to game unless the suit is rebid over a negative. The auction proceeds:


You might want to know, as far as style goes, that your partner is intrepid. She knows no fear.

It seemed to me there’d be some chance they were making, a smaller chance you are making and a good chance it’s a cheap enough save to warrant trying it out, so I bid on and this is the layout:

VCC Women’s
Rd 1
Bd 14
Dealer East
Nil vul









How good is this? We played 6H two down -100 on their +450 hand.

When presented with the idea that maybe this wasn’t an Acol 2, Janina was prepared to argue in support of it being a nine trick hand – practically…and she is sort of right. The D10 in partner’s hand and it is nine tricks.

In fact she’s brought me around to the idea that it is an auto Acol 2. The point of Acol 2s isn’t using them, it’s the impact of their existence on all the rest of your system. The point is that the one level opening is more or less a limited opening bid, with all the consequent advantages that strong club one level openings have….The more you don’t use Acol 2s, the more you start talking yourself into the idea that this one just isn’t quite right, the more pressure you put on the whole structure of your one level openings.

Tomorrow: the selection in Victoria story that I mentioned a week or so ago. Do come back for it.


Entry filed under: bidding.

Purely with a view to irritating Sartaj…. What happens when selectors select teams? A true story.

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jill magee  |  June 9, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    hi, you have already alluded to this, but to enquire in further detail: if the structure of the system includes loosely interpreted acol 2’s and off shape no trump openings, isnt it really a sort of strong club in disguise? as such, one level suit openings are, by process of elimination, made on limited holdings, and subsequent competitve auctions occur in that light. in a way, 1 level suit openings have quasi preemptive undertones. the NT opening might often be analagous to a strong club opening, so would an alternative defence be called for than that to a typical NT opening? what degree of pre-alerting is indicated? the acol 2’s and off shape NT being alerted should supply the requisite information, however, unless fully spelled out, opps could miss some of the underlying inferences. i spose this could obtain in any system.
    whether an unusual system requires an unusual degree of prealerting is an interesting question.

  • 2. Khokan Bagchi  |  June 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    I remember playing in the qualifying rounds of the Victorian Pennant around 25 years ago. I held vul vs not as west:



    The auction went:


    I elected to double and wrote down -1630 after opening a game force!! You might argue that 7H is “obvious” (it wasn’t to me, then), but I think the real problem is the 2C opening. I’d open 1S these days and keep bidding.

    I think you got lucky on the VCC hand, as 5S was cold and north failed to double 6H. I’d have taken my chances on defence against 5Sx on the west hand.

  • 3. Ron Lel  |  June 8, 2009 at 10:13 am

    I would regard this as a 4H opening. It is not an acol 2 in my book.

  • 4. Chris Mulley  |  June 8, 2009 at 10:04 am

    At least you aren’t advocating the lunacy of 2D (eight playing tricks in any suit) on hands like this. Paul and I have found that the 8 playing tricks has to turn into 11 at their next turn to bid against us as they punt at the 5-level and hope.

    Even so, I don’t like it. It means that responder has to take a blind guess as to what to do. On the given hand, you guessed well to bid 6H, but let’s face it, surely your partner wasn’t really inviting you to bid 6H with the hand she had – she was happy having pushed them to the 5-level.

    How can you tell whether they are making or you are making? 6H off one (or two) rather than going +300 – +800 in 5Sx is not a pretty thing.

    I’m sure that you would never do this, Cathy, but over here in the sticks I have seen some appalling tempo auctions by people who have such a range of hands in their “Acol Twos” – it’s the only way they can judge what to do. It happens time and again with people who don’t know better, which to me is a clear sign that it is unplayable without such assistance.

  • 5. Jonathan Mestel  |  June 7, 2009 at 7:02 am

    An ACOL 2. Really. Personally I even prefer opening 5H to opening 2H on that. I assume there’s no argument about 4H and 1H…

    Hey, it’s all style. In England you’d specifically have to announce that as “8PT but may have little strength outside the suit.” Call it an ACOL 2 and they lock you up.

    • 6. cathychua  |  June 8, 2009 at 6:04 am

      Yes, quite. Cast your mind back, if you will, Jonathan, to the last time England were world champions at bridge. Think about how they played Acol then. It might get a light bulb flashing. It was the last time English players played Acol properly….

      • 7. Khokan Bagchi  |  June 8, 2009 at 4:10 pm


        Terence Reese characterised an Acol 2 as a “hand of power and quality” – the example hand clearly doesn’t satisfy the latter criterion. So, if you’re trying to say the hand would have been an Acol 2, as played by England when they won a World Championship, I think you’re mistaken.

        I’m not sure if you play Acol twos the way Michael Courtney did – in a single session with me he opened a strong two with a 1444 18-count and a 5332 25-count. I’m sure that this style makes it difficult for the opposition, but it also makes playing them difficult.


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