Chuck Arthur

No Blackwood 1

The following hand occurred at a matchpoint pairs at Partners Bridge Club in Toronto Sunday night. I have rotated the deal for the convenience of presentation. South was the dealer with EW vulnerable.



West North East South
Pass 2 Pass 2nt
Pass 3 Pass 3
Pass 3   Pass 4
Pass 5 Pass 5
Pass 5 Pass 7
Pass Pass Pass  


2 diamonds showed at least a king or 4 HCP. NS were playing Kokish so the 2 notrump rebid showed 22-23(24) HCP balanced. 3 clubs was garden variety Puppet Stayman; 3 diamonds showed 1 or 2 four card majors; 3 hearts showed 4 spades and not 4 hearts. 4 spades was perhaps a lazy bid, but after all, South was minimum in HCP for his bidding. 5 clubs, 5 diamonds, and 5 hearts were all cuebids. After the last of these, South paused to take stock. Suddenly, his hand took on gargantuan proportions. North had very poor trumps, yet was willing to initiate a slam try. No wonder since she apparently held 2 aces. South knew that these 2 aces were both opposite kings in the other hand. If North only held 2 aces and no other high cards, it would not be enough for a grand slam. If partner happened to have a spare queen to go along with her 2 aces, ghe grand slam was probably cold, unless she had Qx. On the other hand, there was apparently no way that South could convince partner that she need not worry about trump quality. Enough stewing: South simply bid the grand slam. Does anybody out there have any suggestions?

I get the sense that many players think that a slam doesn’t count if they do not go through Blackwood. As a matter of honour, NS like to avoid Blackwood when bidding slams.

13 tricks were cold since no splits were truly ugly. Tumps broke 4-1, but that was only a minor annoyance. 13 tricks were were even available in notrump due to a squeeze that developed, but playing the slam in spades was clearly superior. To see the virtual traveller and hand record, click here and look at board 25.


Daniel KorbelApril 20th, 2010 at 8:13 pm

7S was a big bid at the end since there was no guarantee that the hands would fit well enough for 13 tricks. South might have temporized with 5NT or 6C. These are very tough auctions in general and even very good partnerships struggle with them. Note that if one of North’s small diamonds was a small heart slam would have no play.

BlairApril 20th, 2010 at 10:59 pm

North could not bid Blackwood, period. South, over 5 hearts should bid 5NT, I’m not in favor of 5 spades as a temporizing bid here. Obviously 5NT is a grand slam force, but it also asks for extras if North cannot bid 7 spades. North has an easy 6 club bid and South has a real 7 spade bid….The 7 spade bid made at the table is a bit from the hip. It’s like saying, I think that about 2 out of 3 times 7 spades will make, so I will gamble. 5NT always fetches all the marbles when partner ( as on this hand ) can show another club card or feature. Thanks for asking.

Bruce GowdyApril 21st, 2010 at 9:56 am

My style after 2 c-2 d is to bid a 5 card or longer major right away- therefore 2nt simply denies a 5 card major and starts a baron sequence in which both sides bid their 4 card or longer suits up the line at the 3 level -this method establishes all fits. On the subject hand the bidding would go 2c-2d-2nt-3c-3s-4h(this is a cue bid confirming spades since opener bypassed 3 h) Now S bids 5 clubs confirming that fit. N should now realize that his bids could have been made on Jxxx,Ax,xxx,qxxx but that his actual holding of AQxx in clubs is monumental and should bid 7 spades

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