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BCL Standard English Acol


(This follows the EBU 20A Convention Card format. The system depicted is Standard English Acol, but with the exception that, as is popular in the BCL online club, the defense to a 1NT opening is natural)

Bidding System: Standard English (Basic Acol)
Leads: 4th highest, 2nd from bad suits, top of sequence
Signals: Attitude on partner's lead. Count on declarer's lead
Discards: Attitude (Suit preference where obvious)
Strength of 1NT openers: 12-14
2C Response to 1NT opener is: Stayman (Normally with a 4 card major)

Opening bid Point range Min length Conventional Meaning Special Responses
1C 12*-19 4 See notes 1-3 1NT response 6-9 HCP
1D 12*-19 4 See notes 1-3 2NT response 11-12 balanced
1H 12*-19 4 See notes 1-3 2 over 1 change of suit 9+
1S 12*-19 4 See notes 1-3 Splinter bids
1NT 12-14     Stayman, Red Suit Transfers (2D/H transfer to 2H/S; See note 4 for 2S/2NT)
2C     Game force OR 23+ Balanced 2D negative
2D   5 8 or more playing tricks with 2 or more outside defensive tricks 2NT negative
2H   5 As above 2NT negative
2S   5 As above 2NT negative
2NT 20-22     Stayman, red suit transfers. 3S - see note 5
3 bids 6-10 7 Pre-emptive  
4 bids 6-10 8 Pre-emptive  

Simple Natural, wide-ranging. From 8+ at 1-level
Jump Intermediate = Good 6-card suit and opening values
Cue Bid Michaels - see note 6
1NT Direct 16-18, responses: Stayman and Transfers as per 1NT opening
1NT Protective 12-14, responses: Stayman and Transfers as per 1NT opening
2NT Direct Unusual - see note 6. Responses are limit bids
2NT Protective 20-22 balanced. Responses as 2NT opener

Opponents open: Defensive methods:
Strong 1C Double = majors, 1NT = minors
Weak 1NT Double = Penalties, Overcalls are natural
Strong 1NT As above
Weak 2 Double = take-out
Weak 3 Double = take-out
4 of Minor Double = take-out
4 of Major Double = take-out
Multi 2D Double = shows values

Simple Overcall: Doubles are: Take-out over bids up to 2S
  Bids are: New suit forcing
Jump Overcall: Doubles are: Take-out over bids up to 2S
  Bids are: New suit forcing
Double: Redouble is: 9+
  New suit is: Forcing
  Jump in new suit: Forcing
  Jump raise is: Pre-emptive
  2NT is: Good raise

Doubles of opening NT bids or NT overcalls are for penalties, following which all subsequent doubles are for penalties. Otherwise, all doubles of suit contracts up to and including 2S are for take-out. Eg 1S Dbl 2S Dbl - both doubles are for take-out
Doubles of artificial bids show the suit bid

Convention Meanings of Responses Action over interference
Blackwood 5C = 0/4, 5D = 1, 5H = 2, 5S = 3 aces D0P1
Gerber - see note 7 4D = 0/4, 4H = 1, 4S = 2, 4NT = 3 aces D0P1

FSF (Fourth Suit Forcing) - but after 1C (No) 1D (No) 1H (No), 1S is natural and 2S is "Fourth suit"
UCBs (Unassuming Cue Bids) - opposite partner's overcall, a cue bid shows a good raise
Splinter bids - 3S/4C/4D over 1H and 4C/4D/4H over 1S show 4+ trump support and a singleton or void in the suit bid
Long Suit Trial Bids - after a simple raise

Normal leads against suit contracts: 2nd and 4th highest
AK AKx KQ10 KQx KJ10
K109 QJ10 QJx J10x 10xx
109x 987x 10xxx Hxxxx Hxxxxx
Hxxx Hxx xx xxx xxxx
Normal leads against NT contracts: 2nd and 4th highest
AKx(x) AJ10x KQ10 KQx KJ10
K109 QJ10 QJx J10x 10xx
10xxx 109x 987x Hxx Hxxxxx
Hxxxx Hxxx xx xxx xxxx

Describe primary method. State alternatives in brackets
Signals on Partner's lead: Attitude: high = encouraging, low = discouraging
Signals on Declarer's lead: Count: high-low = even number
Discards: Attitude
Exceptions to above: Suit Preference: high = higher ranking other suit, low = lower

Note 1
Balanced Hands not 12-14:
With two four card suits open the higher - except with H and S, open 1H
Unbalanced Hands:
Always open the longest suit
With two five-card-or-longer suits, always open the higher
Use Rule of 20 to evaluate distributional openings
4441 hands:
With singleton club, open 1H
With singleton diamond, open 1C
With singleton major, open 1D
Note 2
Rule of 20:
Add the number of cards in the two longest suits to the number of points held. If the result is 20 or greater, the hand is worth an opening bid.
Note 3
After a one-level response, 1NT = 15/16, 2NT = 17/18, 3NT = 19/20
Note 4
1NT (No) 2S = Baron
This is either a raise to 2NT without a four-card major, which will pass a 2NT response,
Or game forcing with slam interest with usually no five card suit
Opener bids 2NT with a minimum hand, or lowest four card suit with a maximum
1NT (No) 2NT = Take-out to a minor
Responder wants to play in 3 of a minor.
Opener bids 3C, which responder passes or converts to 3D to play
Note 5
2NT (No) 3S = Baron
Game forcing with slam interest, usually no five-card suit
Opener bids 3NT with a minimum hand, or lowest four-card suit with a maximum
Note 6
Michaels Cue Bid / Unusual 2NT
1C 2C or 1D 2D shows at least 5-5 in the majors
1H 2H or 1S 2S shows at least 5-5 in the other major and one minor
1 any 2NT shows at least 5-5 in the two lowest unbid suits
Values range from enough for a minimum overcall up to a very strong hand
Note 7
Gerber is used only in the sequences 1NT (no) 4C or 2NT (No) 4C