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DEC_08_EB_p13 Bakhshi 13/11/08 5:02 pm Page 13

Roman Key-Card

USEFUL CONVENTIONS

Blackwood

IN this series, we will look at several responder also reveals whether he holds the

conventions that have been embraced queen of trumps, the final important card

both by the expert community and also by when bidding good slams.

aspiring players looking to develop their

bidding accuracy. The first of these is a How does the 4NT bidder proceed? David Bakhshi

variation on the Blackwood convention,

which utilises a bid of 4NT to ask partner While it may seem that having either/or

how many aces he holds, to ensure that the responses will be confusing to the 4NT 1

RKCB with spades as trumps; 2 1 or 4 key cards;

partnership does not attempt to bid a slam bidder, it will often be the case that he 3

Asking for the spade queen; 4 ♠Q + ♣K.

when missing two aces. The traditional will know how many key cards his

responses to the Blackwood 4NT enquiry partner has as a result of the number of Asking for kings

are: 5♣ = 0 or 4 aces; 5♦ = 1 ace; 5♥ = 2 key cards he possesses himself. If two key

aces; 5♠ = 3 aces. cards are missing, the enquirer will simply Can the enquirer still ask for kings when

sign off by returning to the trump suit at interested in a grand slam?

Why have variations developed? the five level. When the partnership is As with regular Blackwood, the enquirer

missing just one key card, he will still be can ask for kings by asking for key cards

How many times have you bid a slam that interested in slam; now the enquirer first, then following up with a bid of 5NT.

failed having found out that your part- should consider whether there is a This confirms that the partnership has all

nership is only missing one ace? The most danger of losing to the queen of trumps. five key cards and asks for kings excluding

likely reasons for such slam contracts to be However, following a response of 5♣/5♦ the king of trumps. The two most common

defeated are unavoidable losers in the the enquirer will not know whether his ways to respond are to bid the cheapest

trump suit. For example, holding: partner also holds the trump queen. The king in the same way that the responder

♠ Axxx ♥ KQJxx ♦ x ♣ KQx solution is for the RKCB bidder to follow shows a king when responding positively

it would be reasonable to respond 4NT if up with a second enquiry. This is achieved to the trump queen enquiry, or to show

partner opens 1♠ and then bid 6♠ if the by bidding the next suit up (excluding the number of kings, as follows:

opener shows two aces by bidding 5♥. the trump suit). Thus after a 5♣ response, 6♣ = 0 Kings

However, if the opener has: a bid of 5♦ asks for the trump queen (5♥ 6♦ = 1 King

♠ Jxxx ♥ Ax ♦ AKQx ♣ Jxx if diamonds are trumps). The responder 6♥ = 2 Kings

the chances of losing just one trump trick returns to the trump suit at the lowest 6♠ = 3 Kings

will be very small. Thus it is useful to level without the queen, and bids the

incorporate information regarding trump trump suit with a jump when holding

quality, rather than simply showing the the queen. In summary:

number of aces held by the responder to a Note: when confident of the initial prin-

Blackwood enquiry. ciples, a further twist is for the responder to 1. When the partnership have

bid the cheapest suit in which he holds the found a fit, a bid of 4NT is an

How do the responses differ king when making a positive response to enquiry relating to the five key

when playing RKCB? the trump queen enquiry. For example: cards – the four aces and the king

of trumps.

Roman Key-Card Blackwood is the brain- 2. Following a 5♣/5♦ response, a

child of Eddie Kantar (one of USA’s best ♠ AQ63 ♠ K7542 bid of the next suit (excluding

N

player/teachers), who came up with the ♥ KJ532 W E

♥ A trumps) asks for the remaining

idea that the 4NT enquiry should ask for ♦ 4 S ♦ A6 important card – the queen of

the five ‘key cards’: the four aces and the ♣ K72 ♣ AQJ53 trumps.

king of trumps. The responses are: 3. A bid of 5NT (which has been

5♣ = 0 or 3 key cards. preceded by a 4NT enquiry)

5♦ = 1 or 4 key cards. West East confirms the partnership has all

5♥ = 2 key cards without the trump 1♥ 1♠ five key cards and asks about

queen. 3♠ 4NT1 kings in case a grand slam can be

5♠ = 2 key cards with the trump queen. 5♦2 5♥3 made.

Note that when holding two key cards, the 6♣4 7♠

www.ebu.co.uk December 2008 English Bridge 13

Index

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