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47 - MARCH 2024

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THE SLAM ZONE

BLACKWOOD (AND ALL THAT JAZZ)

Larry Cohen focuses on the aids to slam bidding, starting with a first look at one of the most famous conventions of them all.

Once a partnership is in the slam zone, either player might use Blackwood.

“Regular” (or “Plain”) Blackwood:
4NT asks for aces and then:

  • 5♣ = 0 or 4 Aces.
  • 5 = 1 Ace.
  • 5 = 2 Aces.
  • 5♠ = 3 Aces.

The asker can then bid 5NT to ask for Kings, with the same schedule of replies, one level higher.

This convention has been around since the 1940’s. It is a most helpful convention but is often misused and abused. Blackwood should not be used as a crutch to determine if there is a slam, but more to make sure that you don’t reach a slam off two Aces (nor a grand slam off one Ace).

A good rule of thumb: if the answer to Blackwood won’t tell you if you belong in slam, then don’t use it.

What is RKC and why use it?

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Larry Cohen

Larry Cohen is one of America’s top writers and teachers, having semi-retired from top-level competition in 2009. His To Bid or Not to Bid; The LAW of Total Tricks is one of the best-selling bridge books of all time.

Articles: 8

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