Friday, November 30, 2012

Variable Keycard Blackwood

I am pleased to announce that I will be publishing a new book, called Variable Keycard Blackwood, through Master Point Press, to be released any day now.  Check at for the ebook version (which is usually available first) to arrive.

From the back cover:

Beyond Roman Key Card Blackwood!
Easley Blackwood introduced and developed the Blackwood Convention. Eddie Kantar then expanded the Blue Team’s Roman Blackwood into the Roman Key Card Blackwood that has dominated expert circles for the past half century. Variable Key Card Blackwood may be the next logical step. VKCB allows partnerships to address many problems that neither Blackwood nor Roman Key Card Blackwood solves, while keeping the auction low enough to avoid bad slams. And, better yet, it is relatively easy to use.
Suppose you have enough power for slam but only the J732 in trumps, in support of partner’s five-card suit. You also know that partner has only one of the top three honors. If the honor is the ace, the slam seems good. If it is the king, the slam is not so good. Using VKCB, partner can tell you which honor he has. What about holding 8732? Now you need partner specifically to have the ace and the jack. VKCB has a solution for that problem as well. In fact, you might also find out about a particular side king, all before committing to a slam and without any cuebidding. VKCB solves your problem without going past the safety of the five-level.
KEN REXFORD (Ohio) is a Master Point Press author known for his contributions to bidding theory. His first book, Cuebidding at Bridge, introduced the bridge world to a modern approach to Italian cuebidding. His most recent books for Master Point Press are Modified Italian CanapĂ© System, New Frontiers for Strong Forcing Openings, Really Unusual Notrump (R.U.N.T.), and Overcalling Opponent’s 1NT.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Taking Advantage of a Forced Wrap-Around

Consider an auction:

Blah-blah-blah.  Spades agreed.

4NT would be RKCB, but partner bids 5C as Exclusion RKCB.

Notice that your answers are:

5D = 0/3
5H = 1/4
5S = 2 without the Queen
5NT = 2 with the Queen

Now, if this is your structure, you probably see that 5C as Exclusion RKCB forces slam when replier has "two plus the Queen." 

You also notice a problem.  If Replier has "1/4," there is insufficient space below 5S to ask for the Queen.  This might not be such a problem, as perhaps even "1 with the Queen" is not enough while "4" is enough for a grand (if 2+Q is enough for the small slam).

What about the 0/3 holding?  You have space for a Queen-ask, presumabl;y for grand slam purposes, in the 5H call.  But, you already know that any more questions are grand-slam oriented, if 2+Q is enough for slam.

It seems to me, then, that in this situation (and other similar situations) you can save space by wrapping around the answers.  You do not need (enough to matter) an answer showing yet another void, so why not put this wrap-around to better use?

One approach is this:

5D = 0, or 3 without the Queen (5H then asks for specific features as a grand probe)
5H = 1/4 (if 4, can bid on)
5S = 2 without
5NT = 2 with (asker can continue a grand probe if desired)
6C+ = 3 with the Queen, showing specific features (as if partner had bid 5NT himself)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bridge Bulletin Reviews

The November issue of the ACBL Bridge Bulletin has two nice reviews for my latest books, Overcalling Opponent's 1NT and Really Unusual Notrump (R.U.N.T."), reviewed by Paul Linxwiler.