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Exclusion Keycard Blackwood by Liz Mcgowan

scotland on sunday logoFriday 19 April 2013

Most Wests were disappointed on this deal. When partner shows some support it seems normal to bid slam, but, unfortunately, it does not make.aa

The defenders cash a club, and you cannot establish diamonds without losing a trick: if you draw trump you cannot ruff twice; if you don’t draw trump South scores a ruff. Unlucky – unless, like Anthony Bates, you take measures to confuse the defence.

Exclusion Keycard Blackwood is a great idea in principle, but has featured frequently in the Friday column because players are easily confused. A jump in a suit to a level beyond your own game informs partner that you are void in the suit you have bid, and asks him to show his keycards, excluding the ace of that suit. Most disasters occur when a player tries to show a void in partner’s suit – so that is not recommended! Here Anthony might jump to 5 over 3, showing the void heart.

Anthony Bates & Troy van de l'Isle, winners of the pairs at the Glenrothes Congress
Anthony Bates & Troy van de l’Isle, winners of the pairs at the Glenrothes Congress

Partner would show no keycards, and he would bid slam. Since he planned to bid slam anyway, it occurred to him that he might put opponents off a club lead with a psychic Exclusion 5. Partner duly showed no keycards, and he bid slam.

Hard to blame South for falling for this: he led the ace of hearts. Declarer, and crossed to hand in spades to discard the club loser on the king of hearts, making the unmakeable slam.


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