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Conventions: Minor Suit Blackwood

Roman Keycard Blackwood is a powerful tool, if used properly, but its value diminishes sharply when you have agreed a minor suit and are obliged to use 4NT as your RKCB asking bid. The problem, of course, is that the response to the RKCB may get us too high. With a minor suit agreed, when we ask with 4NT, there’s simply not enough room to work with. Obviously, the solution is to make our RKCB with a lower bid, and there are two methods in common use…Minorwood and Redwood.


The Minorwood method uses 4 of the agreed minor for the RKCB ask. But, it’s necessary to have rigorous rules defining when 4 of a minor bid are RKCB, and when it is natural. Auctions have a habit of spiraling out of control when one player is trying to get out in 4 of a minor, while the other one thinks he is in a slam auction! So, after many
years of playing part-score hands in slam, and vice versa, we came up with two simple cases.

The first case is Third-Time Minorwood, and these are the conditions:

If we are already in a game-forcing auction,

And, we have not agreed another suit,

And, the minor has already been bid naturally twice,

Then, the third bid of the minor (at the 4-level) is Minorwood.

For example:

1 2   1 1   1 1
2 3   2 3   1 3
3NT 4   4     4  
Minorwood     Minorwood     Invitational  

In the first auction, 2 established a game-force, no other suit was agreed, and so the third Club bid was Minorwood. Similarly, in the second auction, 3 established a game force after Opener’s reverse, so it’s Minorwood again. In the third auction, that 3 was merely invitational, so it does not pass the test … we are not trying to suggest that 4 here as some sort of natural bid is particularly useful, but we do tend to give preference to accurate game bidding over below-game slam tries.

The second case is Jump Minorwood, and it works like this: Click here to continue reading


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