Structural Differences with ACOL
ACOL was the startingpoint for the evolution to Beta. The initial
important change was
removing the concept of reverse. This required an additional 'K' value
above the opening
standard of 12HCP. This fundamental change could not be made without
further complimentary changes: Most essential were strong Major 2
openings and this in turn introduced the Multi 2 in order to retain an ability to show weak Major 2's.
Other changes followed: a multi 2
coding for a 19-20 balanced hand too and this in turn allowed Beta to
possess sequences that allowed strong balanced hands to be shown in 2
ranges: 2 with 2N rebid 19-20; 2N opening :21-22; 2 and rebid 2N following a negative 2
response with 23-24 and 3N with
25-26 and finally a 2N rebid with jump showing 17-18. Weaker NT hands
were shown by opening 1N with 12-14 or a 1N rebid of 12-16 with a 2 crowhurst inquiry with 9+ HCP.
We introduced a relatively simple sytem for signalling in card play.
Later we introduced our defence to strong club systems when Precision or other strong club systems appeared: TRAP over 1 and bidding our shortage over 1; Lebensohl,
in turn replaced got replaced by Rubinsohl in defence of weak 2's and 1NT openings etc.
Next we introduced our 2
sequences in a 'Q & A' form: where the strong hand did the asking
and the weak hand responds in 4 steps. This avoided losing bidding
space EXCEPTION, only when partner had a negative response, could
introduce a long suit of his own.
More recently strong and
defensive bidding with 2 5+ card suits & later opening bids to show
5-5 or better hands which tk away some ambiguities in showing two
suits which in classical methods would need a 3rd bid to identify 6-4
or 5-5 or 5-4.
huge further step was made to show 2 suits in a single bid with
use of the Negative double; in responses to a T-O double; In
protective bidding; and also to show a weak 6-7LTC or strong 4-5LTC with 5-5 or better 2-suited hand in 2nd position when opponents have opened the bidding.
The final and recent change was to adopt 5 card Major
& Diamond openings - only exception being 1
with precisely 4-4 in Majors. This allowed the discovery of any major
4-4, 5-3 or even 6-2 fit to be discovered by the 2-level following a 1 opening! - this involves transfers over
a 1 opening.
The outcome is BetaAcol is now far from ACOL! indeed a system in its
own right. It has inherited from ACOL, 5 card Majors & Italian
systems. We call it BETA now (pronounced 'better'. It is a strongly
integrated syetem with numerous standard conventions - the reader is
strongly advised to take it as a whole - care must be taken to modify
it given its intense level of integration.
Beta has also adopted a number of important conventions, some modified & others limited. :
(adjusted), Transfers (extensibly used to get a contract played by the
most appropriate hand), BARON, SWISS, CROWHURST, RUBINSOHL(largely),
TRUSCOTT (partially), TRAP, STAYMAN(modified), TURBO,
cue-bidding, MULTI 2Ds, DGR, CDH, PUPPET(full), Splinters(limited), not to forget
basics: Change of suit forcing on partner & new suit at 3-level is
game forcing & rebids in a suit by responder are WEAK & jump rebids by
opener announce a short suit with controls in a strong
The author has tried hard to follow a common style throughout -
which once understood - really does help to make the system
easier to pick-up & adopt. At first sight, admittedly, it
really does look tough.
promotes Cue-bidding following any suit agreement. Complimenting
Cue-bidding we use a TURBO 4NT. An amazing handling of 5-5 hands our
3N & 4N inquiries. Also 4N has 5 different meanings depending on
easily discernable context! We use strong Major 2's (struturally one of
the essential consequences related to abandonment of the reverse
Alertable artificial opening bids are 1: 2+ cards; 2: Multi 3-way;
2: virtual game force; 2Ma: 5+-4 & 4-5LTC; 3mi 5-5 2 suited hands.
The key structural differences (relative to ACOL) summary:A) Abandonment of reversing values
B) Significant reduction in the frequency of the weak 1NT usage and a much increased
frequency of a 1 opening. While ACOL players are opening 1NT with increasing
as years have gone by - some even permitting a singleton! While a 1NT
opening can somewhat impede some
opponents it can also fail to properly disclose your own hand! In Beta
required to make a choice between a 1NT opening and a 1 opening:- there are strict rules to follow in this
C) In truth Beta is independent of any chosen strength of a 1NT with a 2 point range
(the text concentrates on a 12-14 range and is our preference as it takes more weight off our 1 opening). Even
variable with vulnerability if you choose. Regardless of your chosen range, our
1NT opening has to respect our configuration requirements. 1 is also available to any strictly 12+HCP hand (not fitting any other Beta opening including 1N) and is almost Forcing!
1¦¦ openings are always 5+ cards and the longest suit (1Ma 10+,
1 11+) and usually maximum: normally: <=7 1/2 LTC.. There is just one
exception: With specifically 4-4 in the major: open 1, also
10+, 90% will be 5+ cards. An
response of 1 with 4+ spades which also denys 4+ Hearts. 1-2 or 1-2 shows 10+ and 4+ cards.
1Ma-2mi is also (9)10+HCP & 4+ cards. 1N is 5-8(9). The specific
sequence: 1-1N-2 is forcing asking for ideally a 5 card red suit else best
choice between PASS(clubs) or 2..
E) 1! opening will be a almost forcing, 12+HCP well almost forcing say 99% Prob!! the exception being a virtual Yarborough with 5+ Clubs! Neverless it also strictly denies a 1NT
opening. If using a 12-14
NT: 1 will 12+ HCP and 2-6 clubs may be held - also it
may or may not hold a 4+ card major - but never both 4-4! of course! Major
transfers will be a cornerstone of the immediate responses.
F) Betaacol's other structural MUSTS: 2 Multi forcing opening and 2Ma non-forcing
strongish, usually 15+ HCP but precisely a conservative 4-5 LTC being
their 'gold' standard - these may also be strongly distributional
2-suited hands with especially with 5-4+ or better in Spades &
Clubs. 5+-5 in any suit other than Clubs are opened in other ways!
G) Betaacol's: 2 opening - strictly FORCING - is either a 23+ Balanced hand or any
distributional hand with maximum 3 1/2 LTC & usually 18+ HCP - but
less is allowed with exceptional single-suited hands. Proceeds in a Q & A style and its very own unique 4N bid!
H) A new suit at the 3-level in any auction is game forcing and NOT necessarily a suit.
I) A new suit in any bidding sequence should NOT normally be passed in
BETA. (this may cause a small loss occasionally) but the
structural value is important - saves bidding space and allows us
to forget about reverses which carry no information about being
J) Specific to Beta: A jump rebid in a new suit by opener is strong (15)16+ and shows a
SHORT suit of usually (1)2-3 cards containing at least 2 top honours (an Ace if singleton), this
bid also informs of a strictly single suited hand and categorically denies 4 card support for partners suit.
Beta is rather sporting: allowing responder to announce a long suit
with a 3-level 'break-out': bid usually a 7+ card suit, possibly 6
card, when strictly not able to show any positive response bid
whatsoever in the given context following 1, 1, 1N, 2, 2(minors
2Ma(minors only) openings. A break-out may also be made in response to
a T-O *. Without intervention at the 3 level but may also be bid at the
4 lebel with a suitable suit.
ACOL sequences where opener rebids his Major suffer from a problem of 5
& 6 card ambiguity. Beta sequences - like other 5 card Major
systems: eliminate this ambiguity entirely. In NT bidding Beta's bids
are showing a 2 point range e.g.17-18 with the one exception of a 1NT
opening that announces: 12-14. This eliminates 'ambiguity' of honour strength in fairly balanced hands.
Beta ACOL has removed all adherence to the concept of REVERSE
The REVERSE is the structural feature of ACOL that has limited its evolution for 75 years!
loss of 3-level minor pre-empts is not as diasdvantgeous as it might
appear at first glance. First of all, these minor pre-empts are
never the most effective and good defence mechanisms
help to negate them. Minor pre-empts can be easily overcome in bidding
and also help declarer in forming his plan of play - early knowledge of
opponents distribution is far more ouy in the open! E.g helps by
providing early and valuable information on distribution of the
Beta invariably pre-empt with 4 of a minor where we would have
previously have opened at the 3-level with far more ooumff and
admittedly some increased risk all round the table!!
Formalising HCP adjustments for 1NT openings:
Deduct 1 if 4333 (flat) OR if Aceless OR holding 3 J's
Add 1 with working (that is supportive of higher honours) T's and 9's found in 2 suits.
Lastly 4NT which for most means some flavour of blackwood,
however it takes on many different guises in Beta depending on context!
-In 2 sequences it asks for number of kings: 0,1,2,3¦4
-In sequences that have shown 2 suits at least 5-5- in ONE bid : it asks the LTC count: 7,6,5,4,3
-Directly over 1N or 2N openings or rebids it is Quantitative showing 30-31HCP. Also
2-2N-3N(forcing to slam) uses Blackwood responses at the 4-level.
- In cue bidding sequences it is TURBO showing 2 or 4 Key Cards.
-Over a 4-level pre-emptive bid by opponents it will ask partner about the 2-lowest unbid suits
- Otherwise it is ERKCB.
AN OPEN MIND and be REWARDED! All the above is very much a synopsis, gives an
outline idea of what Beta is about - but the full detail really needs to be
read.....Its designed for competitive bridge with your fitted partner.
Follow the system and you may expect good results will follow automatically....
Coming from 5 card Major systems
On the face of it and if you stick to your strong NT the move would be easier than coming from ACOL.
1 of a minor sequences have a strong parallellism in Beta that will
need to be mastered and we strongly suggest migration to our
weak NT opening.