Moscow-Pullman Daily News – Jun 16, 1998

Many players use Blackwood when they shouldn’t. Wheel out the trusty Old Black only if you are willing to bid six even if one ace is missing.

There are two other «rules» of Blackwood that should ho followed:

1. Don’t use Blackwood when holding a void.

2. Don’t use Blackwood with two (or more) losers in an unbid suit unless you are absolutely certain that partner has a control (ace, void, king or singleton) in that suit.

Suppose you have a void. If you ask for aces and find that one is missing, how do you know if it is in your void suit (which to bad news) or in another suit (when a grand slam is still in the picture)?

When you have two losers off the top in a side suit and you learn an ace is missing, how will you know if the opponents can take the first two tricks in your weak suit?

In my experience, partners don’t see the funny side when the opponents defeat a grand slam at trick two.A 3

In both these situations, you need to resort to cue-bidding. Once a trump suit has been fixed in a game-forcIng auction, bidding a side suit shows the ace or a void in that suit and interest in a slam.

This deal highlights cue-bidding’s usefulness. Once hearts were agreed, Blackwood would leave South assuming North’s ace was in diamonds, his first-bid suit. But by cue-bidding his spade ace, he heard North cue five clubs, showing that ace. Now bidding seven hearts was easy. And the play was even easier.