APR_10_EB_p35 Landy:EB_Layout 3 11/03/2010 18:53 Page 35
EASLEY Blackwood invented an ace-asking West opens 1t; again East raises to 3t.
convention way back in 1933. Let’s look at West bids 4NT, but this time East replies
it in its original, simplest form. 5® showing no aces. Knowing two aces are
missing, West bids 5t and East must pass. Sandra Landy
What is Blackwood? In all the deals above West has the same
hand and opens 1t. But East has three
In some situations, but not all, a bid of different hands opposite that are all possible For example:
4NT asks partner to show how many aces raises to 3t. West is always going to game,
he holds. The responses are: so it is safe to bid 4NT, since 5™, which
5® Zero or four aces. takes the partnership beyond game, guar- ´ A ´ 972
5t One ace. antees two aces in the East hand. ™ KQJ3 N ™ 86
5™ Two aces. If your side has agreed a suit, a bid of t A K 10 8 6 5 2 S t Q9743
5´ Three aces. 4NT is asking how many aces you hold. ® 6 ® AK7
Blackwood in action When 4NT is not Blackwood
West North East South
Partner opens 1NT showing 12-14 points 1t Pass 3t 4´
´ A ´ 972 and you have a good hand. If you have 22 4NT 5´ ?
™ KQJ3 N ™ 86 or more points, your side must have at
t A K 10 8 6 5 2 S t Q9743 least a combined 34 high-card points. You East was going to bid 5t in reply to
® 6 ® AK7 cannot be missing two aces: two aces are 8 Blackwood, but cannot do so when North
points and if there were two aces missing bids 5´.
you would have at most a combined 32 Some players use a convention called
West opens 1t and East raises to 3t. Now HCP. Neither with 34 points can you be DOPI in this position. It stands for Double
game in diamonds is certain, but slam is missing an ace and a king. You don’t need = zero aces, Pass = one ace, and to bid up
possible. West bids 4NT. This is Black- to ask for aces – you can just bid 6NT. the line with more than one ace. So on the
wood, as West would just bid 3NT to play But suppose you have hand shown East would pass to show his
in the no-trump game. East replies 5t, this hand. It has a good ´ AK7 one ace. That is enough for West to bid 6t.
showing one ace. Only one ace is missing, source of tricks in the ™ K6
so West bids 6t, knowing there is one minors, but it will need t A J 10 9
trick to be lost. partner to be max i - ® KQ93 ´ A ´ 92
mum for 1NT before ™ KQJ3 W
your side wants to bid a slam. A bid of 4NT t A K 10 8 6 5 2 S t J9743
´ A ´ 92 asks partner to bid a slam if he has a ® 6 ® AJ82
™ KQJ3 N ™ A8 maximum hand for his 1NT opening bid,
t A K 10 8 6 5 2 S t J9743 or pass if he holds a minimum for his 1NT.
® 6 ® AJ82 This also applies if partner rebids 1NT. West North East South
Say the bidding goes 1® – 1t – 1NT. Here 1t Pass 3t 4´
the 1NT rebid shows a hand too good to 4NT 5´ ?
West opens 1t; again East raises to 3t. open 1NT, around 15-16 HCP. 4NT by
West bids 4NT, but this time East replies responder asks partner to bid a slam with East was going to bid 5™ over 4NT to
5™ showing two aces. Now West knows no a maximum 1NT rebid. show two aces. Now a bid of 5NT over 5´
aces are missing and can count thirteen A direct bid of 4NT over 1NT asks shows two aces and West can bid 7t or
tricks, so bids 7t or better still 7NT. partner to bid a slam with a maximum better still 7NT.
point count. It does not ask about aces. Holding the hand shown last in the first
column, East would double to show no
´ A ´ 942 What happens aces and West would have to settle for a
™ KQJ3 W
™ 8 if opponents bid over 4NT? penalty by passing the double There is no
t A K 10 8 6 5 2 S t QJ9743 point in bidding a slam missing two aces!
® 6 ® KQJ When you have distributional hands, the East-West will surely beat 5´ even if North
opponents may interfere in your auction. or South is void in diamonds. r
www.ebu.co.uk April 2010 English Bridge 35