The origin of this variation of the Blackwood conventional method is unknown. As the designation signifies, this variation is only employed when the established or inferred trump suit is a Minor suit. The following illustration should clarify the principle behind this concept.

Note: It is of the utmost importance to remember that all examples include the responses for RKCB 0314 and not RKCB 1430. Either method is acceptable since the responses can be easily altered accordingly.

Explanation of Variation

Since there are several idle bids in the application of this conventional method, many variations abound. If any readers would like to send us their particular and different variation of this concept, please do. We have attempted to present the generally accepted approach using Roman Keycard Blackwood and the responses thereto.

Whether or not any and all Ace-asking and Key Card Asking conventional methods may be applied in responding to the Minorwood conventional method have not been examined and is left up to the partnership to determine as to the effectiveness of such methods.

A5
K85
Q72
K9863
10973
QJ94
843
42
Q862
7632
KJ105
7
KJ4
A10
A96
AQJ105
South   West   North   East Meaning
1   Pass   2   Pass Inverted Minor conventional method showing an unlimited raise in Clubs of 10 plus points and a minimum of 5 cards support.
4 Minorwood conventional method asking for controls. This rebid also establishes Clubs as the trump suit.
      4 Promises 0 or 3 Key Cards.
  4 Promises 1 or 4 Key Cards.
  4 Promises 2 Key Cards without the Queen of trump.
  4 NT Promises 2 Key Cards with the Queen of trump.
5 To play. This rebid is very important and partner must pass since the opener realizes that slam is not possible, only game in a Minor suit.
4 NT To play. After a response of 4, 4, or 4, then a rebid by the Minorwood bidder of 4NT is to play. If the responder bids 4NT, then the Minorwood bidder may pass to play in 4 No Trump.

Once a Minor suit has been established as the trump suit, then a rebid on the four level of the Minor trump suit triggers the Roman Keycard Blackwood Asking conventional method. The responses indicate the number of Key Cards exactly as in Roman Keycard Blackwood.

Note: If the partnership agrees to play Roman Key Card Blackwood 1430, then the first two responses are simply reversed. This agreement affects the King-Ask and the Queen-Ask bids and their responses, which must be altered accordingly.

Note: Most partnership agreements also include the understanding that the player, who initiates Minorwood, should have at least two Key Cards before employing Minorwood. This is an understanding, not a requirement.

Note: Once the agreement has been reached to play Minorwood, then the rebid by the opener of 4 in the above example is not Gerber. This rebid is Minorwood and asks for controls or Key Cards.

King Ask

If the partnership discovers that all Key Cards are accounted for, and the player must know which side Kings are held by partner, then the King-Ask is initiated. The King-Ask is one level higher than the Minor trump suit, which has been established as the trump suit as shown in the following auction. The rank of the King-Asking bid must be higher than the trump suit. In the following auction the King-Asking bid has the same rank as the response to the Keycard-Asking bid, only one level higher.

South   West   North   East Meaning
1   Pass   2   Pass Inverted Minor conventional method showing an ulimited raise in Clubs of 10 plus points and a minimum of 5 cards support.
4 Minorwood conventional method asking for controls. This rebid also establishes Clubs as the trump suit.
      4 Promises 0 or 3 Key Cards.
5         Promises possession of all Key Cards and asks for Kings.
      5 Promises 0 or 3 Kings. The King of trump is not counted since this card is a Key Card and is included in the Ace-asking bid.
      5 Promises 1 King. This response cannot signify four Kings since the King of trump has already been included in the Ace-asking bid.
      5 NT Promises 2 Kings.

If the Minorwood King-Asking bidder wishes to stop in a small slam, then this player will simply bid slam after any response as a sign-off. If the trump suit is Clubs, as in the above example, then South will bid 6 after any response to sign off.

If the first response is 4, promising 1 or 4 Key Cards, then the King-Asking bid is 5, or one level higher than the Minor suit and the response. In this auction the King-Asking bid may not be 5 since this bid is employed if the first response to the King-Asking bid is 4. Therefore, to the King-Asking bid the response of 5 shows 0 or 3 Kings; 5NT shows 1 King; 6 shows 2 Kings. The partnership must apply restraint when considering asking for Kings since one level consumes very much bidding space.

Note: If the partnership agrees to play Roman Key Card Blackwood 1430, then the first two responses to the King-Asking bid are simply reversed. The steps to show the number of Kings are changed accordingly.

Note: After a 4 response to a RKCB-Asking bid, a rebid by the RKCB-Asking player of 4 is the Queen-Asking bid and 5 is the King-Asking bid. See below. Therefore, the bids of 4 and 4NT become idle bids if the established trump suit is Clubs. These idle bids may be used or employed by the partnership as they deem fit.

Note: Some partnerships may agree to the understanding that if the first response is 4 to the Keycard-Asking bid, promising 1 or 4 Key Cards, then the King-Asking bid is 5, the same as after a 4 first response, since this bid has become actually an idle bid. In this manner the partnership can save one bidding space. If this is the agreement, then 5 shows 0 or 3 Kings, 5 shows 1 King, and 5NT shows 2 Kings.

Note: It is exactly this flexibility of Minorwood owing to the production of idle bids, which might become the cause for some confusion. The partnership is urged to experiment with several versions and then agree upon one definite form of the concept, one which is most comfortable for the partnership and which cannot easily become confusing.

Queen Ask

To ask for Kings the partnership will bid just one level higher than the Minor suit, which is the established trump suit. To ask for the Queen of the established trump suit, then the partnership will bid one step over the response to the Keycard-Asking bid. For example:

South   West   North   East Meaning
1   Pass   2   Pass Inverted Minor conventional method showing an ulimited raise in Clubs of 10 plus points and a minimum of 5 cards support.
4 Minorwood conventional method asking for controls. This rebid also establishes Clubs as the trump suit.
      4 Promises 0 or 3 Key Cards.
4 Queen of trump asking bid.
  4 Partner shows the Queen of trump (Clubs).
  4 NT This is an idle bid.
  5 Bidding the trump suit denies the Queen of trump.

If the first response is 4 promising 0 or 3 Key Cards, then the Queen-Asking bid is one step over this response or 4. A response of 4 shows the Queen of trump (Clubs) and a response of 5 denies possession.

Note: Whether or not the Queen-asking bid guarantees the possession of all Key Cards is a matter of dispute and debate. The King-Asking bid has not been triggered or initiated. Some partnerships have agreed that the Queen-Ask confirms possession of all Key Cards, whereas other partnership agreements do not include this understanding.

Note: Whether or not the partnership can first ask for the Queen of trump and then continue to ask for the number of Kings (or location thereof or for specific Kings) has not been determined and remains a matter of partnership agreement. If such an agreement is reached, then all continuances are determined by the partnership.

Some partnerships have agreed that if the Queen of trumps has been included in the response to the Keycard-Asking bid, then the understanding is that all side Kings may be cuebid specifically showing the exact location of each side King.

Trump Suit is Diamonds

When the trump suit is Diamonds, then the following illustration shows the different responses. The explanations for the Diamond suit are not complete in that the Queen-Asking bid is not entirely included.

A5
K854
K9863
Q7
10973
QJ9
42
8432
Q862
7632
7
KJ105
KJ4
A10
AQJ105
A96
South   West   North   East Meaning
1   Pass   2   Pass Inverted Minor conventional method showing an ulimited raise in Diamonds of 10 plus points and a minimum of 5 cards support.
4 Minorwood conventional method asking for controls. This rebid also establishes Diamonds as the trump suit.
      4 Promises 0 or 3 Key Cards.
  4 Promises 1 or 4 Key Cards.
  4 NT Promises 2 Key Cards without the Queen of trump.
  5 Promises 2 Key Cards with the Queen of trump.
5 To play. This rebid is very important and partner must pass since the opener realizes that slam is not possible, only game in a Minor suit.
4 NT To play. After a response of 4 or 4, then a rebid by the Minorwood bidder of 4NT is to play. If the responder bids 4NT, then the Minorwood bidder may pass to play in 4 No Trump.

Note: If the partnership agrees to play Roman Key Card Blackwood 1430, then the first two responses are simply reversed.

King Ask

In the case that the established trump suit is Diamonds, and the partnership discovers that all Key Cards are accounted for, then the next possible step is to ask for Kings in the following manner:

South   West   North   East Meaning
1   Pass   2   Pass Inverted Minor conventional method showing an ulimited raise in Diamonds of 10 plus points and a minimum of 5 cards support.
4 Minorwood conventional method asking for controls. This rebid also establishes Diamonds as the trump suit.
    4 Promises 0 or 3 Key Cards.
5 Promises possession of all Key Cards and asks for Kings.
    5 Promises 0 or 3 Kings. The King of trump is not counted since this card is a Key Card and is included in the Ace-asking bid.
    5 NT Promises 1 King. This response cannot signify four Kings since the King of trump has already been included in the Ace-asking bid.
  6 Promises 2 Kings.

Note: In order to ask for side Kings after confirming that all Key Cards are accounted for, then the player will bid one level higher than the Minor trump suit. After a 4 response, the King-Asking bid is 5. The 5 bid is not applicable since it is employed after a 4 response to the King-Asking bid. However, see above for a possible partnership understanding in this regard.

After 4 the Queen-Asking bid is 4; after 4 the Queen-Asking bid is 4NT.

Variations

1. Some partnerships have agreed that certain bids can mean different specifics. For example, some partnerships have agreed that a possible bid of 4 NT is natural and is to play as the final contract.
2. Other partnerships have agreed that the cheapest suit bid, that is not the agreed suit or a Queen-asking bid, is a bid asking for specific Kings, which is sometimes designated as Specific King Ask, or SKA, as outlined by Mr. Edwin Kantar.
3. Another understanding for the 4NT bid, that is not the agreed suit or a Queen-asking bid, is a bid asking for specific suits, or a Specific Suit Ask, or SSA.
4. If the response to the Ace-Asking or Keycard-Asking bid shows the Queen, then the partnership can cuebid specific Kings and simply by-pass the King-Asking bid. See above.

Possible Solutions

There are several ways for the partnership to reach the conclusion quickly that a Minor suit is the best possible choice for the trump suit. There are several partnership understandings, which the partnership can employ to determine that a Minor suit is the best possible choice. For example Four Suit Transfers:

South   West   North   East Meaning
1 NT   Pass   2 NT   Pass Four Suit Transfer to Diamonds.
3 The No Trump bidder accepts the transfer to Diamonds. Note: Some partnerships have agreed that the No Trump bidder should first bid 3 and let the responder become the captain and possible Minorwood bidder.
  Pass   4 Minorwood conventional method asking for controls. This rebid also establishes Diamonds as the trump suit.

However the partnership reaches the conclusion that a Minor suit is the best trump suit, then the partnership must rely on the Minorwood conventional method and employ it in an attempt to reach a secure slam. By using this conventional method the level of bidding is lower than conventional Ace or Keycard Asking bids and allows the partnership to escape if it is discovered quickly that an insufficient number of Key Cards or Aces are present to make a slam possible.

     

Personal Homepage of Mr. Donald Kersey.

Curator of the Museum of Squeezes of Mr. Donald Kersey

Squeeze Web of Mr. Donald Kersey.

Donald Kersey's Minorwood Version

Website: Our home-grown methods are: We play that any time 4 of a Minor is a forcing raise (and on a few auctions were it is just a rebid - eg 1-3-3X-4), it is to be construed as RKC. After the response, 4NT and 5 of the Minor are both sign-offs

If the Queen of trumps has not been shown or denied, then the cheapest non-trump suit becomes the Queen ask, and the next cheapest non-trump suit asks for Kings; if the Queen has been shown, the cheapest non-trump suit asks for Kings (not used very often, but has never caused problems when it was used). Here is how it all works out:

After 4 RKC:

4 : (showing 0/3 or 1/4 according to your preference).
4 : asks for the Queen of trumps; (responder bids 5 without, 6 with the Queen and no side King, 6 of a suit with the Queen and that King, 5NT with the Queen and two side Kings)
4 : asks for side Kings (either number of Kings, or specific Kings, as you wish)
   
4 : (showing 1/4 or 0/3)
4 : asks for trump Queen (responses as above)
4 NT: to play
5 : to play
5 : asks for Kings
   
4 : (2 without the Queen)
4 NT: to play
5 : to play
5 : asks for Kings
   
4 NT: (2 with the Queen - note that this response can be passed)
5 : to play
5 : asks for Kings

After 4 RKC:

4 : (0/3 or 1/4)
4 : asks for trump Queen (responses as before - 5 without, 6 with Queen and no side King, etc)
4 NT: to play
5 : ask for Kings
5 : to play
   
4 : (1/4 or 0/3)
4 NT: to play
5 : asks for trump Queen (business as usual)
5 : to play
5 : asks for Kings
   
4 NT: (2 without - passable)
5 : asks for Kings
5 : to play
   
5 : (2 with)
5 : to play
5: asks for Kings

Bridge Guys would like to conclude this presentation with a quote by Mr. Chris Compton.

Minorwood: The popular idea that you must have a low-level RKC available at all times is overrated. Taking a natural and forcing four-of-a-minor call to define it as RKC especially misplaces priorities. In bidding, you need weak auctions, invitational auctions, and game-forcing auctions all before RKC. To say that forcing to slam with the correct number of KC's + trump Q is more important than a natural slam try is to reverse the frequency of those hands occurring. There are more slam tries than Ace asking hands.

 

 

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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