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Bridge in Paradise: by Neil Robinson

Here is a deal for those who use Blackwood, particularly Roman Key Card Blackwood (RKC). RKC is a very useful variant of Blackwood, in which there are five key cards: the four aces and the king of the trump suit. The deal comes from the 2009 World Team Championships in Sao Paolo, Brazil. North-South were vulnerable and South dealt. Sitting North-South for the USA were Doug Doub and Adam Wildavski. Take a look at the hands and decide how you would bid it sitting in their seats:

A possible bidding sequence is shown below:

Four clubs by North is a splinter bid showing a singleton or void in clubs and at least four spades. South now knows he has no losers in clubs so he asks for aces (or key cards—the answer in this case is the same). North bids 5D to show the one missing ace. 5N by South tells his partner that they have all the aces (or all the key cards), that he is interested in grand slam and asks for kings. North shows one king. South, knowing that they are missing two kings signs off in small slam. The bidding looks precise, but they missed a cold grand slam, with five spade tricks, four diamond tricks, two outside aces and two club ruffs on board adding up to 13 tricks.
So how did the US pair bid it? Exactly as above, except that they play the meaning of the 5N bid a little differently. It still shows all the key cards, but it asks North if he has a source of tricks. If so, go directly to grand slam. If not, bid the number of kings. North looked at his KQ109 of diamonds (opposite at least the ace) and bid 7S directly—the two missing kings do not matter. I really like this treatment and will try to use it in future—unfortunately I seem to be picking up a lot of two point hands recently and I find my partner gets irritable if I bid grand slam with that holding!
I would like to hear from readers about their favourite hands—please do contact me at [email protected] Bridge Club of Chiang Mai welcomes all players. We have members from seventeen different countries already. For information on the Club go to the web site

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Bridge in Paradise