The ACOL ugliness

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The ACOL ugliness

Rebid NT with a balanced hand (a hand with no sing

The basic ACOL principle: Every 4 card is biddable and you start with the lowest one. This will give you some awkward rebid problems. What to rebid with KJxx xxx AJ KJxx after 1clubs 1hearts? ACOL says rebid 1spades. Partner most likely says 1NT, end of auction resulting 1NT in the wrong hand. It's much better to rebid 1NT with all balanced hands (11-14) and ignore the 4 card major. If partner has less than invitational 1NT is often the best contract even with a major fit. With invitational values or better you still can find the major fit with (two way) check-back Stayman. As a consequence of this approach a sequence like 1clubs 1hearts 1spades also means a unbalanced hand (most likely a 5431 distribution). You can also perfect this sequence even more with a direct 3 card support and a 4315 distribution (1clubs 1hearts 1spades means now partner I have just a singleton support). You can find out a real fit later with invitational or better values. With less you end sometime in a 4-3 fit hearts, but remember the 3 card heart hand is unbalanced with ruff potential.

xx45 xx44  4441          

xx45 xx44

More ugliness appears with (11-14) 4 diamonds and 4 clubs or even 5 clubs. If you open a club and partner respond with a major, what is your rebid? If balanced you can bid NT but unbalanced repeat clubs and promise 6, reverse to diamonds? Its just ugly and even simple so resolve, just open a diamond with those hands. If you do face yourself with a rebid problem you could always bid clus, ok you promise a 5/4 in basic ACOL, but at least you have told 8 cards in two suits, way better than lie extra club-length or lie extra strength. With stronger hands you still can open a club with 5 clubs and 4 diamonds because you can reverse now.


In a lot of systems there is room to deal with 4441 hands. Mostly they have incorporated special relays or even special openings dealing the problem. Why? 11-14 4441 hand only occur in 0.9% and 15-17 only 0.3%. Just open a diamond (unless it's you singleton than open 1 club) wait for partner and support him like you have a 5431 hand.
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