A Brief Bridge History

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!
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 usage:
Any bidding system can be supplemented with  numerous 'add-on' conventions. Some of which have been universally adopted as standard. For example:
Anybody looking to learn bridge would be well advised to start with the American Standard bidding system - not ACOL.

Our system, beta ACOL, is an 'evolutionary fork' of ACOL. It is only intended for advanced partnerships looking for a highly integrated well defined modern system.