Blackwood

Sonning Lock

Sonning Lock

Bidding and playing a slam (12 tricks) is quite rare but earns big bonus points.


If you and your partner have a very strong hand (33 points plus) or a fit of extraordinary quality then a slam should be explored.


By checking how many aces and kings you hold between both hands you can bid a slam with confidence.


The convention we use to count aces and kings is called ‘Blackwood’. A convention means the bid has a special meaning and is not natural.


To begin Blackwood - bid 4NT -  which asks your partner to bid the number of aces she has. The bid of 4NT is never natural. Partner must respond.


The formula used to respond to 4NT is:

5C = nil or four aces

5D = one ace

5H = two aces

5S = three aces


After the reply has been given for Aces, a bid of  5NT  can be used to ask for the number of kings.


The formula used to respond to 5NT is:

6C = nil or four kings

6D = one king

6H = two kings

6S = three kings


Bidding is completed by a contract of 6 or 7 in a suit or NT.


Slams in a suit can be obtained with a good fit. A slam in NT needs 33 points.


If, when using Blackwood you find you are missing too many aces then bid 5 of your agreed suit. Your partner must not bid after this.

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