Roman Keycard Blackwood

Void-Showing Variation
by Mr. Chip Martel and Mr. Lew Stansby

Mr. Easley Blackwood devised the Blackwood Convention as a means of bidding slam with the built-in feature of not bidding slam when it proved not to be feasible. His convention has undergone many modifications and many variations have resulted from this one concept. One of these variations has been developed by Mr. Chip Martel and Mr. Lew Stansby, to show a void plus the number of Keycards.

When a partnership employs the Roman Keycard Blackwood conventional method, it is very difficult and unusual to show a void in a suit. The partnership agreement between Mr. Chip Martel and Mr. Lew Stansby, when they are attempting to reach a slam contract and one partner has a void, is to employ the following method.

The partnership agreement is to employ different responses according to two individual and separate situation. The first situation is that the trump suit has been established and the Keycard-Asking partner is unaware of a void. The second situation is that the void has been established (or defined), which means that other responses are employed.

Both situations are based on the premise that a void is shown and/or established and confirmed by the responder to the Keycard-Asking bid by employing the idle bid of 5 No Trump or higher. Since all normal responses to Roman Keycard Blackwood are of suits on the five level, then a response of 5 NT or higher promises a void and a certain number of Keycards dependent on either situation.

The following diagrams show the responses when the void has not been defined or established or inferred.

 

Spades are Trump

RKCB Responder Meaning
4 NT Roman Keycard Blackwood.
5 NT Shows 2 Aces and a void in an unknown suit.
6 // Six of a biddable suit for one or three Aces with a void.
6 Six of the trump suit for one or three Aces and an unbiddable void.

 

Hearts are Trump

RKCB Responder Meaning
4 NT Roman Keycard Blackwood.
5 NT Shows 2 Aces and a void in an unknown suit.
6 // Six of a biddable suit for one or three Aces with a void.
6 Six of the trump suit for one or three Aces and an unbiddable void.

 

Diamonds are Trump

RKCB Responder Meaning
4 NT Roman Keycard Blackwood.
5 NT Shows 2 Aces and a void in an unknown suit.
6 // Six of a biddable suit for one or three Aces with a void.
6 Six of the trump suit for one or three Aces and an unbiddable void.

 

Clubs are Trump

RKCB Responder Meaning
4 NT Roman Keycard Blackwood.
5 NT Shows 2 Aces and a void in an unknown suit.
6 // Six of a biddable suit for one or three Aces with a void.
6 Six of the trump suit for one or three Aces and an unbiddable void.

 

Defined Voids

When the void suit has been defined or established or inferred, then the responses are different since both partners know and are aware of this feature in the hand of one partner. It is also theoretically possible that one partner becomes aware of a void in the hand of his partner and vice versa, thereby establishing two voids opposite each other.

The following example shows how a defined void influences the corresponding bids. Mr. Chip Martel is playing direction East.

 
North
843
K10
1032
QJ864
 
West
AJ9
AQ754
98764
 
East
KQ1075
6
AKQJ
K75
 
South
62
J9832
5
A10932
 
     
South   West   North   East Meaning
Pass   1   Pass   1 Suggesting a new suit.
Pass   2     3/4 card support for Spades and establishes the trump suit.
Pass   2 NT Relay to Clubs asking for additional information.
Pass   3     Shows a biddable suit and a void in Clubs since the Club suit was by-passed according to partnership agreement.
Pass   4 NT Roman Keycard Blackwood. Responses are changed since the void has been defined as the Club suit.
Pass   6     Shows two Aces and a void, which is the known Club suit.
Pass   7 Mr. Chip Martel decides for a grand slam in Diamonds.
Pass   Pass   Pass

 

Void Showing Roman Keycard Blackwood Responses

The responses to the Roman Keycard Blackwood conventional method, knowing of a particular void in advance of employing the conventional method, are different:

RKCB Responder Meaning
4 NT Roman Keycard Blackwood knowing in advance of the defined void.
5 NT Shows 1 Ace and a void in the known suit.
6 Shows 2 Aces and a void in the known suit.
6 Shows 3 Aces and a void in the known suit.

Note: In the above example Mr. Chip Martel, who was playing East, realized that a 7 contract would prove difficult (if not impossible) owing to the blockage held in the Diamond suit (no entry to the perhaps longer Diamond suit in the dummy). He also realized, because of this fact, that the Clubs would have to be ruffed in dummy thereby jeopardizing the grand slam contract in Spades. As a result of these two factors, the better contract is 7, bid and made.

It was exactly this auction, which won Mr. Chip Martel and Mr. Lew Stansby the Romex Award for Best Auction at the annual IBPA Awards. It occurred at the tournament in Tunisia in 1997.

 

 

If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.




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