Roman Keycard Blackwood

        Roman Keycard is an improvement on standard Blackwood, based on the idea that the king of trump can be as important as any ace.

Definition.    A keycard is either an ace or the king of trump

Here's how it works: to ask your partner how many keycards he has, simply bid 4NT. Your partner will respond as follows:

— 4NT — 5:    3 or 0 keycards.
5:    1 or 4 keycards.
5:    2 or 5 keycards without the queen of trump.
5:    2 or 5 keycards with the queen of trump.

 

        The Queen Ask.    After a 5 or 5 response, you may inquire about the queen of trump by making the next available side-suit bid:

— 4NT — 55:    Asks about the Q.
— 4NT — 55:    Signoff. 
5:    Asks about the Q.

Your partner can deny the queen by bidding the next step up, or show the queen by bidding two steps up:

— 4NT — 5 — 55:    Denies the Q.
5:    Shows the Q.

 

        Asking for Kings.    After your partner reveals his number of keycards (and possibly the queen of trump), you can ask him for kings by bidding 5NT. This is just like normal Blackwood except that there are only three kings under consideration:

— 4NT — 5 — 5NT — 6:    0 kings.
6:    1 king.
6:    2 kings.
6:    3 kings.

 

        When is Blackwood Roman Keycard?    There is no standard agreement on this issue, so I definitely recommend discussing this with your partner. I have found that the follwing agreement works well:

If either partner has bid a suit, then Blackwood is always Roman Keycard
The suit used is the last naturally bid suit

 

        1430 vs. 3014    There is a variant of Roman Keycard Blackwood called 1430 that some bridge players prefer. The only difference is in the meanings of 5 and 5:

— 4NT — 5:    1 or 4 keycards.
5:    3 or 0 keycards.
5:    2 or 5 keycards without the queen of trump.
5:    2 or 5 keycards with the queen of trump.

(The first version I presented is called 3014, and was the original version.) The argument for 1430 is that you usually want more room for exploration (say, for asking about the trump queen) after a 1/4 response than after a 0/3 response.



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