Kantar Roman KeyCard Blackwood

I use Kantar Roman Keycard Blackwood. It is simply the best. If you are not familar with it, buy his book. It will be among the best, most useful 18 dollar (US) you have ever spent. It is some 26 chapters (gasp) long. In the meanwhile here is a very short summary of the methods. If you think reading this will substitute for what is in his book, you are sorely mistaken.

Responses to RKCB

Kantar has cleverly decided to use 1403 and 0314 responses to Blackwood! The idea is to try and increase the frequency of the cheapest response. When the "strong" hand ask the "weak" hand for key cards, the strong hand will have 3 or more keycards most of the time. Turns out the "weak" hand will generally have one keycard (At least when the hand is going slamming). So the weak hand responds with 1403 responses. When the weak hand ask the strong hand for keycard, turns out the strong hand never has one, and usually has three (instead of four), so when weak hand ask the strong hand, the responses are 0314.

Of course this means you have to KNOW who is suppose to be weak, and who is suppose to be strong. Opener is always "strong" UNLESS

When OPENER ASK for keycards, he is always strong, and thus responder uses 14, 03 responses unless:

  1. He opened 1m and rebid 1NT (but not 1C-1D-1NT)
  2. He opened 2H/2S (major+clubs, weak opening bid)
  3. He opened 1m and rebid 2m (exception, 1D-2C-2D where opener is presummed to be strong)
  4. He responds 3♣ to a Jacoby 2NT Plus bid and responder then immediately jumps to 4NT blackwood (if opener ask for key cards after bidding 3♣ then opener is assumed to be strong)
  5. On this auction, 1D-2C-3C opener is presumed "weak"

When Responder ASK, opener is presumed to be strong and therefore uses 03, 14 responses, except for the same limited conditions listed above.

In addition, we show voids in response to the blackwood as follows. With 0 or 2 keycards plus a void, bid 5NT, with one or three keycards plus a void, jump in void suit, or if void suit is above 6 of our suit, jump to 6 or our suit.

QUEEN ASK. If the response to RKCB shows 03 or 14 keycards, the cheapest non-signoff bid ask for the trump queen. The responses are: Return to the trump suit cheaply with out, cue-bid the cheapest king with it, with Queen without a king to cue-bid, bid 5NT with "no king" but with "extra value" (long trump, queen in partner suit, etc. Read Kantars Book for more details).

Specific King Ask

A bid of 5NT by the RKC bidder ask for specific kings. A new suit after the response is a further king ask. However, if the responder to RKB has already denied the king in the second ask suit (during a cue-bidding sequence for instance), the ask is for 3rd control

Specific Suit Ask

A specific suit ask is after RKCB, responder bids a new suit (other than the one that ask for trump queen), is a specific suit ask. The responses are: Negative return to the trump suit. With Qx(x) bid first step. With Kx(x) bid the second step. With KQ raise. Note, ignore the ACE in that suit. We use SSA and SKA only when in possession of all controls and trying for grand slam.

This thread is a work in progress, so more will be added to it. But it really is best to get his book. For now simple rules, what bids are RKCB?

4NT after major fit is found,

4 of the agreed minor in a game forcing auction (a limited hand can not ask for aces, even with 4NT or 4 of agreed minor). So, 1m-2m-any-4m is RKCB. But, 1m-2m-2any-3m (forcing one round)-bid-4m is not, and can be passed.

Here is a hand that would have worked well on.

Had this hand yesterday. It was not a huge success for me.







West North East South
- 1 Pass 2Pass 2! Pass 3Pass 3 Pass 3Pass 3 Pass 4Pass 5 All Pass
This was not a bidding success. Playing Kantar Roman Keycard Blackwood our auction should have been
1 - 22♠ - 44♥ - 5♠6♦ - pass Where 2D was inverted raise, quasi game-force. 2S was balanced hand that didn't want to bid NT (here because of the heart weakness wanted to "right side" NT. Usually because too good). 4D is RKCB. Opener is not limited so responses are 03,14, so 4H shows 0 or 3 keycards. Slam must be reached with three keycards, so responder could bid 4NT which opener could pass with 0 or show useful extra cards without. Over 4NT, opener would simply bid 6D (no useful unshown cards). But here we have responder take the different route looking for an extra card. The truth of the matter is, after 2S (balanced hand), and then three controls (AKA), that comes to 11 hcp. Opener can not have another king, unless he is too strong for 1NT. So opener bids 5S looking for Queen of hearts. If opener is sitting on 17+ he is sure to bid grand anyway over this even without the queen. 6D denies the queen and ends the auction.