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1 1/2 stoppers??

I read somewhere that a 1/2 stopper for No Trumps is Qx or Jxx. So if I bid 4th suit forcing I need half a stop in the fourth suit and am asking partner if he/she has a half stop. If I have Qx or better and partner has Jxx or better (or vice versa) then our opponents can't run a long suit off the top. 
In a book called "25  Acol Conventions You Should Know", Sandra Landy et al say that after a takeout double responder needs 1 1/2 stoppers to bid 2NT (10-13 HCP) or 3NT 14+ HCP. I know what a single stopper looks like and a double stopper, and now know what a 1/2 stopper looks like, but what does 1 1/2 stoppers look like? I presume it means any holding that, opposite Jxx or Qx, can provide a stop, then lose the lead, and then provide a second stop, but is it definable more specifically, as per the 1/2 stop?


  • If you are looking for nice clear-cut definitions you might be disappointed. AXX, KQX or QJ10 will all provide definite stops. Holdings such as K10X, QJ9, KXXX are very likely stops, but it is possible to create scenarios where they do not provide a stop. QXX is unlikely to provide a stop unless partner can provide some help and JXX is very unlikely to prove a stop without support from partner.

    Some judgement is required and it may depend whether the strong defender is on your left or right and which defender will be on lead.

    But to give a "flavour", I would tend to assess as follows:
    - 1/2 Stop - JXX, QXX, JX, QX, KX (if badly placed), 10XXX
    - 1 Stop - KXX, QJX, Q10X, JXXX, 109XX
    - 1 1/2 Stops - AJX, A10X, KJX, K109, QJ9X
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