2007-11-11 06:51




            In my biased opinion , ACOL is one of the worst bidding systems ever devised. Therefore , it comes as a surprise to me that I really like one of their systemic bids. The ACOL 2 shows all strong diamond one suiters or two suiters with diamonds as the anchor suit with the strength just under a demand two bid. Standard bidding handles strong diamond hands above the range of a 3 rebid to under a 2♣ opener abysmally. The ACOL 2 fills the gap nicely that standard bidding can not handle.  Ax xx AKQxxxx ♣Kx & similar hands are hopeless to describe with standard methods. 4-4-4-1 with 17-21 HCP’s are very difficult to describe. Hiding 5 with a 2NT opener impedes minor suit slam bidding . Strong diamond reverses to a major ( 6-4 or the like ) are no bargain. These problem hands are now all solved with the ACOL 2♦.


            Therefore , a 2opener shows a single suited or two suited diamond hand or a balanced 2NT opener with at least 5 or a Roman 2with its original range of 17-21. All stronger diamond hands ( 22 HCP + ) are opened with 2♣. I originally thought we could get away with a huge range ( all strong diamond hands )  for these bids but it might cause too much ambiguity.


            A 2 bid demands a 2 waiting bid after which opener describes her hand as a single suit , two suiter , NT hand or Roman. A Roman 2 is shown by bidding 2♠ after the 2 waiting bid which causes partner to relay to 2NT. Now opener describes her hand by bidding the singleton or jumping in the void.


            Conventions are rated by their frequency. This 2 ACOL range is just more frequent as Roman 2 with 17-21 HCP of course are more frequent than their larger counterparts. The range 18-21 hands or two suiters are more frequent than their forcing to game counterparts. 2NT openers with 5 diamonds are relatively frequent.


              6-4’s are very hard to describe & strong 6-4’s exceptionally so. We now have the following understandings to describe these hand patterns playing the ACOL 2. 



            3                              6& 4



             4                              6 & 5



            3♠                              6 & 4♠



             4♠                              6 & 5♠



            3♣                             6& 4♣



             4♣                              6& 5♣



            BJ & I added ACOL 2 bids to our natural 2 structure & got very good results. Returning game forcing 2bids to the 2♣ structure is no big deal as that is what we are used to.  Super strong diamond reverses  no longer exist as they are opened 2. When we open 1, we almost have forcing 1♣ inferences with 6 card diamond distributional hands  that we are under 17 HCP. Almost , but not quite as judgment & the length of the diamond suit are factors. A balanced hand with a 2NT rebid is still opened 1♦. 5 card diamond suits in the 17-20 are still opened at the one level. 2 followed by a 2NT rebid shows the 20-21 2NT openers with a 5 card diamond suit.


Those of us who play the ACOL 2 with a range of 17-21 have the Roman 2included in that mix. We can not play the Roman 2the “old way” where 2NT was a game force & other bids escaped to a partial. With the duality of the 2involved , 2 must always be the first bid by responder. How do we escape to a partial ? We do this by “breaking the relay” . As soon as we hear 2♠ , we know that the hand is a Roman 2♦ , so we are supposed to bid 2NT as a relay. If we break the relay to a suit ,  we want to play it there unless that is openers stiff. If so , the 2 opener bids up the line & we scramble to the best partial. If responder accepts the relay to 2NT , we are on a game force.


            ♠xxx xxx xxx ♣xxxx         2-P-2-P




            ♠AJ10x Axxx xxx ♣xx    2-P-2-P





            In standard bidding , a response shows 6 or more HCP’s & the bidding structure unfolds accordingly. Not so with the Acol 2 , as responder may have zero HCP.s & does not get an initial chance to show her suit. Therefore an ACOL 2 has to be a special bid based on distribution & not just your normal 5 card suit  with 17 –20 HCP. These hands are still opened at the one level. 2 shows the 6th diamond & an outstanding distributional attribute to justify starting the bidding at the 2& skipping bidding steps.


This  ACOL bid changes the structure of 1-P-1NT as extreme reverses & strong 6 card diamond /club hands no longer exist. We now can play light reverses in these sequences as the stronger 6 card reverses would have been opened 2 . Strong diamond one suiters , no longer exist also after a 1NT response. Playing an ACOL 2 structure has a nice positive ripple effect in your overall system,