The Acol Bidding System found its origin in the country of England, from which it spread to the United Kingdom. The bidding system has seen many evolutions and changes since its inception. The opening bids of this bidding system are especially important to the bridge player since they form the foundation, upon which all continuances are based.

In the original version, if such a statement may be made, of this bidding system an opening of 1 No Trump showed 12-14 points in a non-vulnerable situation and 15-17 points in a vulnerable situation. However, in an accepted agreement of two players the opening bid of 1 No Trump can show 12-14 points independent of the state of vulnerability.

Based on this feature all continuances may become a matter of partnership agreement. The following opening Acol bids are not considered standard, since there are truly no standard opening bids in the Acol bidding system, although one may wish to believe the opposite. The following opening bids are suggestions from the 1980s and the 1990s and represent nothing else. It is an attempt to recreate this part of history for the Acol bidding system.

Opening Bids Only

1 :   12-21 high card points   Promises 3-card plus Club suit.
1 :   12-21 high card points   Promises a 4-card plus Diamond suit.
1 :   12-21 high card points   Promises a 4-card plus Heart suit.
1 :   12-21 high card points   Promises 4-card plus Spade suit.
1 NT:   12-14 high card points   Distribution: 3-3-2-5 or 3-3-3-4. Vulnerability is not an issue.
2 :   22+ high card points   Promises any shape.
2 :   18+ high card points   Promises a 5-card plus Diamond suit.
2 :   18+ high card points   Promises a 5-card plus Heart suit.
2 :   18+ high card points   Promises a 5-card plus Spade suit.
2NT:   20-22 high card points   Shows balanced shape.

Note: The issue must be addressed when providing information about the Acol bidding system that an opening on the two level, other than the strong, artificial 2 Clubs opening bid, evolved into a multiple opening bid. An opening on the two level was altered to show either a 6-card plus suit in the bid suit or promise a certain distribution, generally a 5-5 distribution in two suits, one of which should be known. This feature was added to the original version at a later, undetermined date.


If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.