Australian vs US playing style

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by joaneb joaneb 3 years ago.

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    The absolute basics do not vary much between the US and Australia. The principles espoused in Paul Marston’s or Ron Klinger’s, or Derek Browne’s or my beginners books are interchangeable with the US approach, (ACBL and Audrey Grant’s being the same, as they were both written by the same authors, i.e. David Lindop and Audrey Grant).
    Later, when the fundamentals (themselves a huge area) are supposedly known, there is more experimentation in Australia with various conventions than in the US.
    Which is better is a moot point. The main aim is to win, so whether you’re using multi two-bids, or weak two-bids, the important thing is to adopt a style which brings home results, and that you are able to PLAY and DEFEND hands as well as possible.
    I don’t believe there is anything “conservative” about the US approach to bidding.



    Douglas raises an important aspect of our teaching methods in Australia. For the last 20 years I’ve been teaching Australian Standard. This has been mainly based around Australian authors, in particular Paul Marston’s publications. Over those years, American Standard has moved to a far more conservative approach to bidding. And, of course Audrey Grant’s publications are designed to support the views of the ACBL towards “what is allowed”, whilst Australia continues to encourage a fair degree of bidding freedom. Perhaps it is time for our teachers to promote Australian Standard as the basic system that we teach in Oz.


    If you love your “new Aussie” style, then you should be able to convince a partner to play it with you? It’s an advantage to be able to play a number of different conventions, and you should settle on the ones you like most.
    The US has long promoted a standardised method of teaching bridge, and there are advantages in this, in that people can move from region to region and club to club and everyone understands them (supposedly!).
    Australia is well known for many different approaches and the tendency to try out new ideas (e.g. in the two-bid area). I love any approach that allows students to have a good appreciation of the fundamentals of the game, because these are the building blocks for advancement.
    I love the US approach to keep the bidding simple allowing the student to concentrate on play and defence as well. I personally think too much biding is rammed down students’ throats here, with little emphasis on play and defence. (It’s easier to teach a bidding “recipe” than to show a class how to take a finesse).
    I would have thought that all top US players are aware of many variations in conventions, and most play things like Bergen raises, Jacoby 2NT Cappelletti etc. 2/1 rather than Standard is very popular there now, and I recommend you make the most of your time there to learnt that from a good teacher.
    I have on my website, a suggested curriculum for bridge teachers to follow, and really, so long as you and your partner are on the same wavelength you should be fine, whether you’re playing Standard American or Standard Australian.
    Audrey Grant’s website has excellent articles on what she calls Standard Grant, worth checking out, and these are played a lot in the US.
    In world events, the US has traditionally been anti many different conventions, and systems, and this has angered a number of Australia hopefuls.
    Thanks for your comment, and good luck over there!

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by joaneb joaneb.


    I first learned to play bridge in America. When I moved to Melbourne I was repeatedly told that my playing style was very old-fashioned (limit raises, jump shifts to show strength, etc). I adapted to the Australian style (where any bid of a new suit is forcing and using bids like 2N to show a major suit fit and 10-12 or 16+ points; I also play fit-showing jumps … and a few other things). I like this style much better. It makes complete sense to me and I’m a total convert. However, I am now back in the USA and no one here has heard of the way we play in Australia. I’ve had a number of directors patiently explain to me that a jump-shift bid is a good way to show strength and just last week I was talking with a member of the USA womens team who looked at me like I was crazy when I explained the no-trump raises. I don’t want to switch back to playing an ‘old fashioned’ form of standard American, but if that’s the way they play here then I might have to.

    I told my Australian bridge teacher about this and she is genuinely shocked. She thought we played Standard American. Here though they tease me that I play Standard Australian.

    Does anyone in the US play similarly to the way I’ve now learned in Australia? Or do you think the American system is better? Even the Audrey Grant books still seem to promote the ‘old fashioned’ system. I’d appreciate your thoughts.

    Thanks. Douglas.

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