THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
BIDDING A SLAM WITHOUT BLACKWOOD
There is an old saying that real bridge players don’t need Blackwood. Of course, before bidding a slam, Blackwood of one ilk or another is often used. But on some deals it will not help, and the partnership needs to employ control-bidding (cue-bidding).
Look at this deal. South opens two clubs; North responds two diamonds, not being quite strong enough for a two-heart positive with that relatively weak suit; South rebids two spades; and North raises to three spades, promising a smattering of points. (Some players would make a four-club splinter bid, showing the singleton, but I like four-card spade support for that action.)
Now if South uses Blackwood, he learns that his partner has one ace — but he does not know if it is the useless heart ace or the invaluable diamond ace. Instead, he makes a four-club control-bid, showing a first-round club control (ace or void), expressing slam interest, and asking partner if he has a suitable hand. North, with a terrific hand, makes a four-diamond control-bid. Now South, wondering about the club situation, control-bids four hearts. And when North control-bids five clubs to show his second-round control (king or singleton), South leaps majestically to seven spades.
South ruffs the heart lead, cashes his club ace, ruffs a club in the dummy, returns to his hand with a trump, ruffs the club queen, carefully ruffs a heart in his hand (does not play a diamond!), draws the last trump and claims.