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Acol 4NT: A Failure Leads to a Suggestion

I play Acol 4NT with all my partners and it has served me well on several occasions, but not the last time it arose.

I was sitting in first seat holding (yes, this IS what I held) the top 10 diamonds and 3 singletons. I know the opponents were not vulnerable, because I feared they would enter with a major. I wanted to open 4NT, but there is no response to cover 3 aces, just 0, 1, or 2. So I opened 1D -- and my LHO passed (WOW) and partner bid 2C (WOW) and RHO passed and partner had 3 aces, so 7D was a laydown. Many declarers were down 8 or 9 when they bid a NT slam. Guess who was void in diamonds :)

I suggest that if your partner opens an Acol 4NT, bid at the 7-level with 3 aces. I recommend 7C to allow partner to do whatever he wants to do -- you told him of your 3 aces.

I think that would have solved my problem without having to worry about a sacrifice getting in the way!


  • Why bid at the seven-level? Bid 6 of the ace you don't have (it is not safe to bid at the 5-level, since partner is likely to have a void somewhere and you end up getting the dummy).
  • I am amazed by the comment that the Acol 4NT has served you well on several occasions. I have never held a suitable hand! But that's why I go under the name Tramtickets! ☺
  • I checked it out, and indeed, 6C to show 3 aces, not including the ace of clubs, works. I should be able to tell (unless I have 2 voids) so 6C works. But so does 7C. At least I have not found a case where it doesn't -- so that seemed easier to remember. But, yes, 6C sure does work.

    For sake of interest, I began to play Acol 4NT 16 years ago and have used it 4 times. I began playing in the late 1950, and I have held 2 hands that had 2 voids. So, Tramtickets, it will arise!

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