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BBO Robots play Acol!

Well, a sort of Acol with American hangovers.

I've just discovered that BBO runs a free daily tournament where the robots play a version of Acol. It's called the Free Acol Individual Daylong. It's a matchpointed, 8 board tournament where you play with a robot against two other robots and it runs for a whole day so your scores change as more people play the boards. To ensure you get some action it's a 'best hand' tournament which means that in any one deal no hand has more points than you have.

To find the tournament login to BBO and select 'Competitive'. Next select 'Free Tournaments' and look for 'Free Acol Individual Daylong'. Click on the title and a box will appear inviting you to register for the tournament. Click 'register' and the tournament becomes highlighted in yellow. Click on the tournament again and then click on 'play now' in the new dialog box when you are ready to start. You don't have to play all 8 hads at once. You can log out and return later to pick up where you left off. You just have to find the tournament and click on it then click 'play now'.

You can find a description of the Acol system that the robots play by clicking the 'About' button in the box with the 'register' button. This is pretty inconvenient so you can load this document here and I suggest you bookmark it so you can open it in a separate browser tab to your BBO game.

The system is Acol in that it is a 4 card major system with a weak no trump, a strong 2 club bid and three weak twos with Stayman, transfers and Blackwood. It may be a little advanced for beginners since it plays Jacoby 2NT game force over an opening bid of 1 of a major and splinter bids. It also uses Truscott 2NT to show a genuine raise to 3 of partner's suit after a takeout double by the opposition and fit jumps after partner overcalls. Smolen and support doubles are also in the system!

I shouldn't complain, it's an improvement for most UK bridge players. Let's hope that Acol robots can soon be selected as an option for online club sessions when we have a half table and also in teaching sessions.

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