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by David Stevenson


Let me guess: you play five-card majors, strong no-trump, and several common gadgets. You do not really understand why some people play strange systems like Acol or Romex and you feel it not fair that they play such strange devices.

If this is true of you it makes you the majority, but it is a sad development of the game. In fact, OKBridge suits you, because you can make clear in your stats that this is all you play, and if you do not like playing against other systems you can always find tables where everyone plays pretty standard, or even serve and put 'Standard bidding only' as part of your stats.

But it is not unfair that other people play differently, and if this makes you uncomfortable, that is really a fault in you rather than them. The rules of bridge allow conventions and agreements, and there is no reason why that should only apply to yours. In fact, if you are not too experienced, a good way of getting useful experience is to play a different system, or at least some unusual conventions.

To become good at this game, you should not try to get protection against things you do not like, you should try and win against such things. So if you do not like Acol [and think it an old-fashioned 'British' system, which you describe with a snort as you say British] that is fine so long as you do well against Acol players. But avoiding Acol players is not proving their system is not the best!!!!

The popularity of 'Standard', or 'Standard American', is great, but it is not universal. While several areas of the world play this as the default system, many countries do not. For example in the UK and New Zealand Acol is the most popular, and is still pretty popular in the Netherlands and other places. Polish Club has a wide popularity in Poland, Indonesia and elsewhere.

As I said earlier, OKBridge suits players who want to play and play against one system, but I beseech you to try a more tolerant approach: try other systems yourself, and try playing against them. You will find the game of bridge more interesting this way.


Please remember to write to me with your problems. I am afraid I will not guarantee to answer each query personally, but I shall look at everything sent, and will write about some subjects submitted this way.


Editor's note:

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