The origin of this conventional method is unknown. This concept was developed over the years by partnerships to conserve bidding space, especially one level of bidding space, to achieve the exchange of additional information before establishing the final contract. Sometimes, there are some bridge hands which are immediately slam-suspicious. Baby Blackwood is a variation upon the original concept of the Blackwood conventional method as devised by Mr. Easley Blackwood.

Basic Concept

Employing the normal Blackwood convention could present a problem, because the bidding might exceed a safe level. Baby Blackwood was devised as a conventional method to prevent this. Although not often used owing to the very few bridge hands where it could be used effectively, the effectiveness of the conventional method has been proven.

The Baby Blackwood conventional method is set into motion if one partner determines early on that a slam is possible. There are a few examples where this could be the case. The inclusion of both Minor suits is not a preference of the partnership, but an essential part of the concept, since Minor suit slam tries can also be explored with the same conventional method only if and when they are immediately identified as the trump suit.

The general auctions are those auctions, which show an immediate fit with additional values, such as the bidding sequences in all four suits shown below. A jump raise is considered by the partnership to be game forcing.

North   South
1   3
1   3
1   3
1   3

Since the response of South is a limited and forcing bid, North is able to judge whether or not slam is a possibility. If North does consider slam, then North will bid 3 No Trump, which is the Baby Blackwood conventional method. This is one complete level lower than the normal Blackwood convention. The responses are the same as with the Blackwood convention, only one level lower.

North   South   Meaning
3 NT   4   Shows zero or four Aces.
    4   Shows one Ace.
    4   Shows two Aces.
    4   Shows three Aces.
North   South   Meaning
4 NT   5   Shows zero or four Kings.
    5   Shows one King.
    5   Shows two Kings.
    5   Shows three Kings.

The partnership may, however, employ those responses adopted by the partnership per partnership agreement.

Additional Information

Although not a variation of the Baby Blackwood conventional method, the responder may forego the response of a limit and game-forcing raise of the suit of the partner. If the values exceed the values necessary for a limit and game-forcing raise, then the responder will start investigating immediately slam possibilities.

In this case the responder will bid directly 3 No Trump, intended and agree upon as the initiation of the Baby Blackwood conventional method.

This bid of 3 No Trump establishes by inference the trump suit. Generally this first response is reserved for an opening bid in either of the Major suits, but may, per partnership agreement, also be applied to both Minor suits.

The following should illustrate this method.

North   South   Meaning
1   3 NT   Establishes by inference Spades as the trump suit and is Ace-asking.
4       Shows zero or four Aces.
4       Shows one Ace.
4       Shows two Aces.
4       Shows three Aces.
    4 NT   Promises the possession of all Aces and is King-asking.
5       Shows zero or four Kings.
5       Shows one King.
5       Shows two Kings.
5       Shows three Kings.

The responses are also individual to the partnership as to whether they are only Ask-asking, incorporate Keycards, or RKCB-1430 based, or any variation thereof.



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.