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Bidding system to play in UK

#1 User is offline   prom_vrt 

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Posted 2018-August-11, 23:24

Since I started to play bridge, I've learned SAYC (5-card major and 1NT 15-17) as a first bidding system and I've learned 2/1 GF afterwards.
I'm a fan of 2/1 bidding system due to its easiness to drive towards slam.

I'm planning to go to UK a few months after that and as far as I know, the main bidding system for UK is ACOL (4-card major and 1NT 12-14).
However, I do not know if in recent years, has the popularity of 2/1 caused more people in UK bridge club to realize this system or not.

So, are the majority in UK club playing ACOL only or 2/1 is now playable?
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#2 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2018-August-12, 04:42

Majority of UK club players play Acol certainly where I am, many at higher levels don't, the junior teams are now being taught 2/1 I believe.

YOu may find people who will play Standard American or 2/1 with you, may depend exactly where you're going, if you tell us where in the UK, someody local may be able to tell you.
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#3 User is offline   prom_vrt 

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Posted 2018-August-12, 05:05

View PostCyberyeti, on 2018-August-12, 04:42, said:

Majority of UK club players play Acol certainly where I am, many at higher levels don't, the junior teams are now being taught 2/1 I believe.

YOu may find people who will play Standard American or 2/1 with you, may depend exactly where you're going, if you tell us where in the UK, someody local may be able to tell you.

Cyberyeti, so what do you play most, ACOL or 2/1?
And where do you live. London or outside?
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#4 User is offline   etha 

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Posted 2018-August-12, 05:33

If you are in London go to the Young Chelsea Bridge Club if at all possible it is the best club by miles. There will be internationals there every time you go. All systems are allowed and I'm not sure what the split is between acol non acol but I would guess there is more 5 card majors strong NT than it now but I haven't been in a long time.


Elsewhere acol still reigned supreme last time I looked but there are bound to be some 5 card major strong Nt people at almost any club these days presumably except Pinner.
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#5 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2018-August-12, 05:51

View Postprom_vrt, on 2018-August-12, 05:05, said:

Cyberyeti, so what do you play most, ACOL or 2/1?
And where do you live. London or outside?


I'm in Norwich which is a backwater 100+ miles NNE of London.

I play Acol 90% of the time or very old style Precision with one occasional partner.

In my club, we have mainly Acol, one Polish club pair, a couple of pairs playing Acol with 5 card majors, one junior in the national team setup who plays 2/1 with her partners, and a couple of pairs that play a Swedish club variant. I have seen US type systems VERY occasionally but they are rare.
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#6 User is offline   StevenG 

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Posted 2018-August-12, 05:59

If you turned up at my club without a partner (on a night where that's allowed) the chances of your pickup partner playing anything other Benji would be almost non-existent.
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#7 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2018-August-12, 07:52

While not many play 2/1 you will have no problem. While most people still play 4 card majors, 5 card is not uncommon. Opening NT strengths vary, and "strong" is less common than weak, but is played by a few. It is unlikely a random partner will play 2/1, no chance at all of playing SAYC (mercifully), but if you say "5 card majors, strong NT, 3 weak 2s" it is highly likely any experienced spare player will do that without breaking sweat. Just beware of substandard new suits at the two level over your major open. You could ask partner "what is it forcing to?" but when I ask that, partners do not seem to know, and use "common sense".

If you arrive in almost any club with a partner playing 2/1, you will be welcomed.
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#8 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2018-August-12, 16:31

View PostfromageGB, on 2018-August-12, 07:52, said:

While not many play 2/1 you will have no problem. While most people still play 4 card majors, 5 card is not uncommon. Opening NT strengths vary, and "strong" is less common than weak, but is played by a few. It is unlikely a random partner will play 2/1, no chance at all of playing SAYC (mercifully), but if you say "5 card majors, strong NT, 3 weak 2s" it is highly likely any experienced spare player will do that without breaking sweat. Just beware of substandard new suits at the two level over your major open. You could ask partner "what is it forcing to?" but when I ask that, partners do not seem to know, and use "common sense".

If you arrive in almost any club with a partner playing 2/1, you will be welcomed.


I think perhaps the partners know without knowing they know. 1-(P)-2, eg, is forcing to 2 unless otherwise agreed.
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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#9 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2018-August-12, 16:53

Outside London, Acol is absolutely dominant except maybe at the highest level.

I have bad experience with agreeing to play "SAYC" or "Standard American" with random club players. What is called "SA" or "SAYC" in the UK (at least in the North of England) is at best Acol with 5-card majors and strong notrump, and at worst some kind of incoherent system with unpredictable homegrown treatments.

If a random partner claims to be familiar with 2/1 it's a reasonable assumption that they know what they are doing, though.

But if you want to be able to play with pick up partners, teach yourself Acol. It's a very simple system. You can learn it just by reading a book about it during the flight.

And the vast majority of Acol players can't play anything else. Just like the vast majority of SA players can't play anything else.

So when in Rome ....
So there is someone who is more pedantic than I am. Good to know ;) --- Blackshoe
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#10 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2018-August-14, 01:58

View Postetha, on 2018-August-12, 05:33, said:

If you are in London go to the Young Chelsea Bridge Club if at all possible it is the best club by miles.

This was not my experience.
(-: Zel :-)
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#11 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2018-August-14, 04:24

View PostZelandakh, on 2018-August-14, 01:58, said:

This was not my experience.

Welcome back to the forums! :)
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#12 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2018-August-14, 04:32

View Posthelene_t, on 2018-August-12, 16:53, said:


But if you want to be able to play with pick up partners, teach yourself Acol. It's a very simple system. You can learn it just by reading a book about it during the flight.

And the vast majority of Acol players can't play anything else. Just like the vast majority of SA players can't play anything else.

So when in Rome ....


However everybody seems to think their version of Acol is standard so be prepared for that and discuss a few things before sitting down with your pickup partner.
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#13 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-August-14, 07:55

View PostVampyr, on 2018-August-12, 16:31, said:

I think perhaps the partners know without knowing they know. 1-(P)-2, eg, is forcing to 2 unless otherwise agreed.

But of course in a true 2/1 it forces to game, not 2. That's a huge difference and not something you can improvise if you've never played that way before.


View Posthelene_t, on 2018-August-12, 16:53, said:

But if you want to be able to play with pick up partners, teach yourself Acol. It's a very simple system. You can learn it just by reading a book about it during the flight.

And the vast majority of Acol players can't play anything else. Just like the vast majority of SA players can't play anything else.

So when in Rome ....


When (literally) in Rome, things are actually more complicated than in London... people play a babel of systems of which the lowest common denominator is "naturale lungo-corto", almost any Italian can play that well. It's a natural 4-card major system not dissimilar to Acol, but uses a strong NT and is more rigorous about the order in which suits are shown. I wouldn't claim that either system is simple (a total beginner can learn a strong club system in half the time), but both are certainly simpler than SA.
You would have a harder time trying to play 2/1. At least half of a typical club will be playing some kind of 2/1, but for many it is little more than natural with 5-card major openings. Others play an aggressive modern 2/1 which has little to do with the hodge-podge played by GIB; you could do a lot worse than learn this, but again it's not something to improvise.
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#14 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2018-August-14, 09:21

View Postpescetom, on 2018-August-14, 07:55, said:

But of course in a true 2/1 it forces to game, not 2. That's a huge difference and not something you can improvise if you've never played that way before.

I thought she was talking about people who play 5-card-major Acol, not 2/1.

#15 User is offline   TMorris 

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Posted 2018-August-14, 09:50

View Postetha, on 2018-August-12, 05:33, said:

If you are in London go to the Young Chelsea Bridge Club if at all possible it is the best club by miles. There will be internationals there every time you go. All systems are allowed and I'm not sure what the split is between acol non acol but I would guess there is more 5 card majors strong NT than it now but I haven't been in a long time.


Elsewhere acol still reigned supreme last time I looked but there are bound to be some 5 card major strong Nt people at almost any club these days presumably except Pinner.


There is both standard american and 2/1 played at Pinner nowadays. I am curious why you mention it explicitly?
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#16 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-August-14, 10:32

View Postbarmar, on 2018-August-14, 09:21, said:

I thought she was talking about people who play 5-card-major Acol, not 2/1.

I thought so too, I just emphasised the difference between the two.

My point is that there is a lot more to playing 2/1 than just agreeing which sequences are game forcing or not, it's not something that can be improvised or agreed on the spot, it takes study and practice.

I think others here are saying pretty much the same: when one asks for SA or 2/1 what one is often likely to find is local 4-card majors dressed up as another system, at which point it is better to just play their original 4-card major system where they know what they are doing.
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#17 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2018-August-15, 09:09

View Postpescetom, on 2018-August-14, 10:32, said:

My point is that there is a lot more to playing 2/1 than just agreeing which sequences are game forcing or not, it's not something that can be improvised or agreed on the spot, it takes study and practice.

I think that's true for most systems.

Like it or not, when you're playing with a pickup partner you're going to be guessing a lot. Even more so if you're from different areas, so you're not familiar with the common understandings that partner is likely to assume.

#18 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2018-August-15, 16:00

Oh, by the way, if you play with random club players in the UK, be prepared for the treatment that nothing is forcing unless explicitly agreed as forcing. I almost fell from the chair when one of the best players at the club passed me in the auction
1-1
2-2*
3-3
pass!

1-2
2*
is universally non-forcing (this is pretty much the definition of Acol). An auction like
1-2
3*
obviously should be forcing, but with a random you never know. There isn't much you can do about it (what else can you do with 16 points and a modest 6-card suit), just don't let it bother you too much if it gets passed out.

Everyone plays new suit by responder (except after 1NT rebids) and new suit at the 3-level as not limiting, but other than that, just jump to game (or ask for aces :) ) if you are in an undiscussed auction.
So there is someone who is more pedantic than I am. Good to know ;) --- Blackshoe
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#19 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2018-August-16, 05:43

View Posthelene_t, on 2018-August-15, 16:00, said:

Oh, by the way, if you play with random club players in the UK, be prepared for the treatment that nothing is forcing unless explicitly agreed as forcing. I almost fell from the chair when one of the best players at the club passed me in the auction
1-1
2-2*
3-3
pass!


LOL. I think that considering how few sequences are game-forcing, 4th suit forcing to game is vital.

With a pickup partner, the trouble with 2/1 GF is often aired with a lot of conventions. If you come from different environments it will be tough to guess whether you are playing Bergen raises, Kokish, SA or regular Texas, Multi, 2-way Checkback, Gazzili, xyz, etc. Simple Acol includes none of these.

Some players will be flexible with 5-Card Majors/4-Card Suits and opening NT strength. Personally I think that 4-card suits work best with a strong Nt and 5CM with weak, but YMMV. If a partner asked me to play strong and 5, I would suggest that we just play 2/1GF.

Anyway, be prepared for MUD leads and reverse attitude/standard count.
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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#20 User is offline   661_Pete 

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Posted 2018-August-26, 03:09

In our club most people play Acol but I've heard opponents announce 5-card majors and strong NT, without being more explicit. So if you go to a club in the UK with a partner, feel free to announce 2/1 if that's what you prefer. Be prepared to do a lot of explaining and alerting. Certainly 5-card majors should be announced before the start of a round.

Of course, if you're seeking out a partner from the UK, things would be entirely different. You can count on me not agreeing to play 5-card majors with anyone...
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