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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'.

Carding agreements are not part of the system, but tend to default to 4th highest, K from KQ, HELD and McKenney/Lavinthal signals.

Acol summary

Responding to
one of a Suit


Weak No Trump

Opening 2 level:
- Standard Acol
- Benjamin style


Slam Bidding


Play conventions


Play conventions

Carding styles are not really part of Acol. They vary quite a lot, but "undiscussed" with a UK or "Acol" partner the following assumptions should be reasonably safe.
  • 4th highest leads
  • Having supported partner - low from Hxx, top from xxx
  • King from KQxx etcetera
  • Jack from KJ10x etcetera
  • Ace against NT asks for unblock or count
  • High to encourage (or even), low discourage (or odd)
  • Low card retrun from 4, middle from 3
  • Low card through in a new suit suggests a return of that suit
  • Lavinthal (also known as McKenny) suit preference signals

All of these are subject to variation, fancy, partnership discussion, experience etcetera.

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