0314 or 1430: Which set of responses
to Roman Key Card Blackwood is better and why?

by Eddie Kantar
(ACBL Bulletin, January 2003)
Some players use 0314 respones to Roman Key Card Blackwood, other 1430. Is one really better than the other and if it is, why isn’t everyone playing that way? These two approaches–the latter commonly dubbed «fourteen-thirty»–refer to answers given to a 4NT key-card ask. In the 0314 scheme, 5 shows zero or three key cards, while 5shows one or four. Playing 1430, however, the meaning of these two responses is reversed.

The third- and fourth-step responses to Roman Key Card Blackwood–two keys without the queen of the agreed suit and two with the queen–are identical, so we need only concern ourselves with the first- and second-step respones. 

First, a few givens:

    1. In most key-card auctions the stronger hand asks the weaker hand.

    2. A «0» response usualy leads to a sign-off.

    3. A «4» response, which is rare, usually leads to the moon (a small or a gland slam).

    4. A first-step response is preferable to a second-step response because it allows the asker an extra step for a lower-level queen-ask as well as for other lower-level asks. One of the beauties of using Roman Key Card Blackwood instead of regular Blackwood is that it allows the 4NT bidder to ask partner whether he holds the queen of the agreed suit, as well as for other goodies. To do this economically the asker needs room. The optimal response to 4NT, therefore, is 5 (as opposed to 5) allowing a follow-up bid of 5 to become the queen-ask.

Clearly then, the best method for responding to Roman Key Card Blackwood caters to…[button link=»http://www.bridgeaholics.com/articles/classics/kantar_rkb.html» size=»small» window=»yes»]Click here[/button] to continue reading