Quiz: When should you use Blackwood?

The quiz below has been adapted after an article about Blackwood published by French champions Michel Bessis, Philippe Cronier and Jean-Christophe Quantin in the French magazine Bridgerama (sister of the prestigious publication Le Bridgeur).

Blackwood is, undoubtedly, the bid that causes most score swings all year long. One first step in taming your bidding is to learn to control the impulse of blasting 4NT every time you’re overly happy with how the auction is going. Stop, and think: is 4NT the right question to ask now?


Well done. As always in bridge, there is more than one right answer. Thanks for taking the quiz, hope you enjoyed!

As always in bridge, there is more than one right answer. Thanks for taking the quiz, hope you enjoyed!

#1. What is your bid?

You don’t know whether you have control in Hearts. Bidding 4allows you to find out. Blasting 4NT directly would be impolite.

#2. What is your bid?

Not only you know that your side has control in all suits, but you also have undisclosed extras. It is time to take over. Use Blackwood.

#3. What is your bid?

The bidding has been brutal, but you have plenty to consider slam. Use Blackwood, because no other bid allows you to learn more about your partner’s hand (if s/he shows two keycards, you can try 5NT to look for the club king).

#4. What is your bid?

Using Blackwood is not a crime, but if, as expected, North shows only one keycard, you won’t know whether s/he has the king of hearts. By bidding 4 you can find out this essential piece of information.

#5. What is your bid?

What do you know about your partner’s hand? Not much. However, your partner has a pretty clear idea of what your hand is. Don’t abuse your privileges by taking captaincy. Cooperate by showing the diamond control. Your partner knows how to use Blackwood too, s/he will probably ask very soon…

#6. What is your bid?

Signing off in 4 would be very pessimistic. Bidding 4NT without a diamond control is also a bit too extreme. Showing a spade control with 4 or asking about diamond control with 5 are both excellent choices.

#7. What is your bid?

After your strictly limited opening, it is logical to allow your partner to control the bidding. Settle for 4♥, you have nothing more than what you promised. 

#8. What is your bid?

You have a minimum hand, in the light of your forcing 3 bid. Your side might not have enough for slam. Bid 4 (it would be wrong to hide this control if you have a cheap way to show it) and pass if North signs off in 4♥.