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Roman Key Card 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 is 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.
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