The concept of the Redwood conventional method asking for Keycards while making a slam attempt is also a result of an application designated as U.S.P., or Useful Space Principle, conceived by Mr. Jeff Rubens. The principle is defined as the partnership actually assigning meanings to actions, so that the remaining bidding space matches the needs of the auction.
This 6-part series of articles was first published in The Bridge World beginning November 1980 and ending April 1981, and received the Award for Best Article or Series on a System or Convention as presented by The international Bridge Press Association to Mr. Jeff Rubens in 1981/1982.
Emphasis is placed on the adverb also since the Redwood conventional method should be employed together with the Kickback conventional method. The difference between the two concepts is that the Redwood conventional method should only be employed when discovering via the auction that a slam possibility can only have a chance if the suit is a Minor suit, either Clubs or Diamonds. In contrast, the related Kickback conventional method may be used for all four suits.
Note: The Redwood conventional method can only be initiated with a bid on the four level either in Diamonds or Hearts following the establishment of the trump suit.
Note: The reason for the different designations is that if the trump suit is Clubs, then Diamonds is Redwood, and if Diamonds is the trump suit, then Hearts is Redwood. Since both Redwood bids are Diamonds and Hearts, the method was called Red-wood because both suits are the color red as opposed to the Black-wood conventional method.
Note: The designation of Minor Suit Key Card Blackwood (abbreviated: Minor Suit KCB) is also used for the concept behind the Redwood conventional method.
The concept of Redwood is based on Roman Keycard Blackwood and is separated according to which Minor suit becomes trump.
Clubs is the Agreed Club Suit as Trump
If the agreed Minor suit is Clubs, then the Redwood bid is 4 Diamonds. The number of Keycards are shown in a series of four steps. For the fourth step the trump suit must be skipped.
Step Bid Meaning First Step: 4 Shows either 0 or 3 Keycards. Second Step: 4 Shows 1 or 4 Keycards. Third Step: 4 NT Shows 2 or 5 Keycards without the Queen of Clubs. Fourth Step: 5 Shows 2 or 5 Keycards with the Queen of Clubs.
Diamonds is the Agreed Diamond Suit as Trump
If the agreed Minor suit is Diamonds, then the Redwood bid is 4 Hearts. The number of Keycards are shown in a series of four steps. For the fourth step the trump suit must be skipped.
Step Bid Meaning First Step: 4 Shows either 0 or 3 Keycards. Second Step: 4 NT Shows 1 or 4 Keycards. Third Step: 5 Shows 2 or 5 Keycards without the Queen of Diamonds. Fourth Step: 5 Shows 2 or 5 Keycards with the Queen of Diamonds.
In the case that the response allows the partnership sufficient useful bidding space, then the asking partner may employ a relay, excluding the implied or established trump suit, to determine the number of Kings, excluding the King of trump. This action guarantees the combined possession of all five Keycards. The responding partner replies according to four steps:
Step Bid Meaning First Step: Dependent on first response: Shows 0 Kings. Second Step: Dependent on first response: Shows 1 King. Third Step: Dependent on first response: Shows 2 Kings. Fourth Step: Dependent on first response: Shows 3 Kings.
The following example of an auction should assist in understanding this dependent auction. No competition.
South North Meaning 1 2 North shows a raise in Clubs per partnership agreement with an Inverted Minor raise. 4 This rebid initiates the Redwood conventional method and asks for the number of Keycards. 4 NT Shows 2 or 5 Keycards without the Queen of Clubs. 5 Redwood King-ask. Since the agreed trump suit is Clubs, then Clubs must be excluded in asking for the number of side Kings. The initiation of the King-ask guarantees the combined possession of all 5 Keycards, or all 4 Aces and the King of Clubs. 6 By bidding the fourth step North shows the possession of 3 side Kings.
Although rare the partnership can inquire about the Queen of trump if the responses do not indicate the possession of the Queen of trump. However, the ability to take this action depends entirely on whether the partnership has sufficient useful bidding space. If the partnership determines that it is not possible, then no such action will be initiated.
However, if sufficient useful bidding space is available to ask for the possession of the Queen of trumps, then the partnership bids according to the following guidelines:
First Step: This response denies possession of the Queen of trump. Second Step: This response guarantees possession of the Queen of trump.
The reason that the first step denies possession is that the frequency of holding the Queen is less than holding the Queen. By responding in this manner the partnership may have more possibilities of asking for the Queen of trump, and that the partnership may more frequently decide to inquire about the Queen of trump.
If the meanings of the two possible bids were reversed, then the partnership has one less bid to make a possible inquiry about the Queen of trump.
Example of Asking for the Queen of Trump
The following example illustrates how the partnership can discover the Queen of trump in the agreed trump suit of Clubs. No competition.
South K10 A8 AQ7 AKJ1043
North A4 K65 K92 Q9854
South North Meaning 1 2 The first response by North is an Inverted Minor raise of Clubs. 4 Redwood convention asking for the number of Keycards. 4 Second Step and shows 1 or 4 Keycards. (Note: no information about the Queen of Clubs.) 4 NT This bid guarantees combined possession of all 5 Keycards and ask for the number of side Kings. 5 Second Step showing two side Kings. Note: Thus far in the bidding sequence South knows that there is no loser in Spades since North holds the Ace of Spades. South knows also that there is no loser in Hearts since North holds the King of Hearts. South also knows that there is no loser in Diamonds since North holds the King of Diamonds. The small slam is secure. However, only the Queen of Clubs is not accounted for, and South realizes that there is sufficient useful bidding space available to ask for the Queen of Clubs. 5 Queen Asking Bid as per the Redwood convention. 5 NT First Step showing the possession of the Queen of trump, or Clubs.
If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.
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