A Brief Bridge History ---> BETA

Contract bridge evolved from Whist. If we trace back all card games based on 52 card deck the great ancestor is Cribbage - once permitted as the only card game allowed in an English pub! In the 4 handed version of the game opposite players are partners! The 2-handed version is still the best card game there is for two players! The version presented here involves more skill, a faster game but retains the entire  spirit of the game.
Two imaginative conceptual advances were responsible for the emergence of Bridge from Whist to the game as we know it today. The first advance occurred in India, reputedly at Poona Club, when British civil servants conceived the idea of bidding for the right to call trumps in 1903 and the second advance were the imaginative ideas of an American, Harold Stirling Vanderbilt, introducing vulnerabilities and scoring above & below the line - this was in 1925. Bridge as we know it was made popular by Ely Culbertson, who taught the game, who published what was the first bridge bidding system bearing his name and started the first Bridge Magazine in the US all in the late 1920's.
Other major landmarks include: American Charles Goren promoted a 4-3-2-1 (4 1/4-3-2-3/4 is more accurate) high card point (HCP) count for hand evaluation; Frenchman Jules Verne and his theory of total tricks (levees totale) - very accurate in partscore battles; and not least and just as important as these: the concept of Losing Trick Count (LTC) first expounded by Mr F. Dudley Courtenay in 1934 and later perfected by Harrison Gray. All three methods with appropriate adjustments need to be used, even side by side, for accurate hand evaluation.
Since these early days Bidding systems have proliferated and evolved in nearly a century of the game. The most well known or heard of systems are in order of popularity:
Any bidding system can be supplemented with  numerous 'add-on' conventions. Some of which have been universally adopted as standard. For example:
 Note: We have also embraced cue-bidding and TURBO. 4NT has many meanings in Beta that depend on context of the preceeding bidding - e.g. after a 2C opening it asks the number of Kings held; In cue-bidding sequences 4NT is TURBO - showing an even number of Key Cards; in sequences following disclosure of a 5-5 partner for the precise LTC! 
We also use Cue-bidding & TURBO; Rubinsohl 4-way (superior to Lebensohl); extensive use of transfers to manipulate who plays a contract (in this respect we appreciate Fantoni)  a novel approach to Take-out double sequences; special handling of 5+-5+  2-suited hands; an Italian based Q&A style for strong hands opened with 2C.  Other Conventions: Trustcott(modified), Baron, Swiss, Crowhurst(modified), Inverted minors; TRAP (against strong club systems); Puppet. Also: 'Change of suit forcing', 'No need of the 'reverse concept' - instead working with 'bidding level awareness'....and others! Our 4NT bid has several meanings which is uniquely determined by context. And we also have a love of bids that show 2 suits! Also a unique approach to responding to a T-O double and an organised approach to bidding in the protective position. We use a 3-way Multi 2D & a Multi 1NT O'call!
Anybody looking to learn bridge would be well advised to start with the American Standard bidding system SAYC (not 2 over 1) - and certainly not ACOL which requires greater skill and experience to achieve a good level of bidding and experienced players will run rings around you. Once experienced by all means progress to ACOL or even to Beta!.. Also  Betaacol is definetly not for beginners! You are welcome to try Beta once you are a confident bridge player!

Our system, beta is not at all ACOL,although it was in its early days 'evolutionary fork' of ACOL. Beta now barely shows its ACOL roots. It actually makes use of some of SAYC, some italian bidding ideas, some old and new conventions, a comprehensive management of very strong hands, a system wide capability of showing two-suits at a time, a comprehensive management for when opponents are first to enter the bidding.  Its a system that's only intended for an advanced partnerships looking for a highly integrated and well defined modern system. It s not designed to takeover a portion of it - however I know of some pairs that have utilised our ACOL like 2C opening and style of continuations.

Beta follows a number of  pervasive concepts that pervade its entire structure - these aid an experienced player to pick Beta up with surprisingly ease. This consistency was not evident in its early development as it was then still somewhat constrained by ACOL. An interesting difference with ACOL is seen in the frequency of 1NT openings! - While in ACOL an ever increasing probability of use is observed, while in Beta a decline in its frequency is observed!