16 English Bridge August 2018 www.ebu.co.uk
´ K 8 3 2
™ A K Q 8 5 2
t A 2
o far in our exploration of RKCB we have
looked at identifying which suit is trumps (the
last bid suit) and making pass or correct sign
off bids, as well as asking for the queen of trumps.
This month we are going to finish our look at
RKCB by looking at some more interesting wrinkles
as well as times when you can break some of the
When we started this topic several issues ago it
was because we had been looking at bidding grand
slams, and we shall have a look now at what
happens after the initial key-card ask.
When you are thinking of a grand slam it is
generally because one hand has enormous playing
strength and needs to know only about the missing
controls. For example:
Roman key-card Blackwood, Part 3
Traps for the unwary by Michael Byrne
by Michael Byrne
´ A K 9 5 4 ´ 8 7 3 2
´ A K 9 5 4 ´ Q 8 7 3
kings. The king of trumps has already been counted,
so there are now only three left.
When you give a 0 response partner pretty much
always signs off. A one king response will
occasionally elicit a grand from partner but a 2-king
response normally will (as a matter of frequency
partner often has the other one). If partner ever bids
5NT and you hold all three kings then your partner
should be bidding a grand slam (otherwise why has
he bid 5NT?) but you might still respond 6´ as
partner will normally be in a better position to pick
the final contract.
You'll recall from previous articles that when
partner bids 5NT he is always inviting a grand slam
and you are allowed to leap to seven (rather than
showing kings) if you have a source of tricks.
Consequently it is very important that every time
you bid 5NT you must make sure you have all five
key-cards between you and the queen of trumps.
This point cannot be stressed strongly enough, if
you bid 5NT without enough key-cards you will
often find yourself getting too high.
WHEN DO YOU NOT NEED THE QUEEN OF
Our final look at RKCB sees us look at a topic that
is entirely logical but not discussed very often.
When I started the series of articles I quoted a
pair of hands missing the ace of clubs and with this
Partner opens 1´. It is reasonable to launch into
RKCB (especially if 1´ is likely to be a 5-card suit).
If you hit a 5´ response (two and the queen) then
you can take a stab at 7´ without even asking for
kings as the singleton club and the powerful heart
suit will give you enough tricks.
However, in the absence of such shapely
monsters, you might need to ask for kings. The good
news is that when you do this the responses are the
same as they were before we took RKCB on board:
5NT: 6® = 0 kings
6t = 1 king
6™ = 2 kings
6´ = 3 kings (This will lead to a grand
You'll note I haven't said what to do when you
have four kings - that's because there aren't four
'Don't bid a slam' I said 'as a 2-2 trump break is
against the odds - barely 40%'.
This trump suit is perfect, losing a trick just 5% of