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ABC bridge

You can choose Standard or Acol as your bidding system at Sky Bridge Club - check our support page to see how to select your bidding system.

Here are the ABCs of how it all works.

Opening 1♠, 1, 1, 1♣

The first player to make a bid is called the opener. Opening bids of 1 of a suit in Standard and Acol have slightly different meanings.

Standard Acol

Responder Changes Suit

If the opener starts with 1 of a suit the responder only needs 6 or more points to change suit at the 1-level.

If the responder bids a new suit at the 2-level that isn't a jump it shows 10+. For example, 1 - 2♣

If the responder jump bids to a new suit at the 2-level it shows 16+. For example, 1 - 2

The Auction Continues...

...but hopefully not for much longer! Keep it simple with ABC bridge and you'll be tough to beat. However, there's something that you really need to learn about. It's probably the one thing that gets players into more strife than any other bidding situation. Save yourself some bidding grief and become familiar with the reverse.

Reverses in bridge made easy! The barrier principle is a simple way to make sense of this important bidding technique. Learn more here.
Learn about the fourth suit forcing convention in bridge

Opening 1NT

Standard Acol

Responding to 1NT

Keep it simple! You know how many points the opener has so choose the final contract and be done with it.

2♣ is Stayman after a 1NT opening, after a 2NT opening and after the bidding sequence 2♣ - 2 - 2NT.
You can choose to play transfers. Check your bidding system. If you have selected transfers then they'll work in the same situations as Stayman - after a 1NT opening, after a 2NT opening and after the bidding sequence 2♣ - 2 - 2NT.
The Sky Bridge Club computer does not play Stayman or transfers after a 1NT overcall.
Stayman and transfers are off after any bid or double by the overcaller

2-level Opening Bids

You can play strong 2 bids or weak 2 bids. Check your bidding system.

Limit bids

A limit bid is one which defines a hand to with a narrow range of points and shape. Limit bids are great! - they're the cornerstone of natural bidding.

The first person to bid notrumps or bid a suit that has previously been bid is making a limit bid.


As soon as one player makes a limit bid, that player's partner is able to calculate the combined playing strength of the two hands.

up to 24 points = partscore
25 - 32 points = game
33+ points = slam

All together now

Most auctions follow a simple pattern - bidding continues until one player makes a limit bid and then partner then chooses the final contract. You'll see variations but you'll still see that basic pattern repeated even in long auctions.

Bid(s) -> Limit Bid -> Decision

Both Sides in the Auction

When both sides are bidding your focus is no longer bidding game or slam. Most of the time you'll simply be deciding whether to defend against a contract by the opposition or try and play the hand yourself.

So, we come to a very important point. If both sides are bidding then showing your points to partner isn't going to help much because, with the points spread around so much, you're less likely to have the strength for game anyway.

In a competitive auction you're looking to find a trump fit. The better your trump fit the more keen you should be to play the hand. Without a trump fit you'll probably be better off defending.


Unlike an opening bid, points don't matter so much for a simple overcall in bridge. A good 5-card suit is the key and good rule of thumb is two of the top four honours in the suit.


If the opener bids a suit and the next player doubles then it normally shows 12+ points and support for the unbid suits. The important point is the support for the unbid suits! You're telling partner you can support every unbid suit.


An overcall of 1NT shows 16-18 points, balanced.

Stayman and transfers are not used at Sky Bridge Club after a 1NT overcall

Just our side bidding
Both sides bidding
Hand evaluation and hunches!
<25 points ( or LTC ) = partscore
25 points ( or LTC ) = No fit 3NT
25 points ( or LTC ) = Major fit 4
25 points ( or LTC ) = Reluctantly 5♣
30 points ( or LTC ) = 6♣
33 points ( or LTC ) = 6NT
8 trumps = 2 level
9 trumps = 3 level
10 trumps = 4 level


Looking good.
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