THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
BLACKWOOD IS NEEDED FOR THE TRUMP ACE
Henry Labouchere, an English member of Parliament who died in 1912, said, “I don’t object to Gladstone always having the ace of trumps up his sleeve, but merely to his belief that the Almighty put it there.”
This week, we are looking at slam bidding. Yesterday, I pointed out that there are deals in which Blackwood will not help. However, if you wish to find out if partner has the trump ace, you will need Blackwood.
In today’s deal, South opens one spade and North responds two no-trump, the Jacoby Forcing Raise, showing four or more spades and at least game-going values.
First, South cannot use Blackwood, because he has two immediate diamond losers. And since South does not have a singleton, he announces his point-count. Four spades would be a minimum, three no-trump a middling hand, and three spades a maximum. (South has only high-card 16 points, but his hand contains so few losers.) Now North might raise to four spades because he has a minimum. But it is reasonable to control-bid (cue-bid) four diamonds. Then South employs Blackwood before signing off in six spades.
West leads the diamond king.
If declarer plays a trump at trick two, he will go down, the defenders getting the spade ace and diamond queen. South has to eliminate his diamond loser immediately. To do that, declarer has to take three heart tricks. He plays a heart to his ace, leads a heart to dummy’s jack, discards his last diamond on the heart king, plays a trump and claims.