Sometimes, there are some bridge hands which are slam-suspicious. Employing the normal Blackwood convention would present a problem, because the bidding might exceed a safe contract. Baby Blackwood was devised as a convention to prevent this. Although not often used owing to the very few bridge hands where it could be used effectively, there are some bridge players who continue to use this convention.
The Baby Blackwood convention is set into motion if the bidding auction determines early on that a slam is possible. There are a few examples where this could be the case.
- 1 -3
- 1 -3
- 1 -3
- 1 -3
Since the response of South is a limited, but 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 convention. One complete Level lower than the regular Blackwood Convention. The responses are the same as with the Blackwood Convention, only One-Level lower.
Responses to 3NT are :
- 4 = Zero or Four Aces
- 4 = One Ace
- 4 = Two Aces
- 4 = Three Aces
After 3NT response then 4NT would ask for Kings.
Using the Baby Blackwood convention also means that North may open one of any suit and responder jumps immediately to 3 No Trump meaning the Baby Blackwood Convention. Responder's 3 No Trump bid loses its natural meaning, or as a strong forcing raise of the opener's suit under some partnership agreements, and is interpreted by opener to mean employment of Baby Blackwood. This must be a partnership agreement.
There is also an extended version of Baby Blackwood and is used by some partnerships. If one partner has opened the bidding auction, and the responder bids 2 No Trump, then this is construed as meaning the employment of Baby Blackwood on the Two-Level. The normal interpretation of the 2 No Trump response then loses its meaning. The responses are the same as above, but only One-Level lower.
The partnership agreement states that whenever any partner bids 2 No Trump, then this extended version of Baby Blackwood has begun. However, the partnership agreements usually stipulate that the opening suit be a Major suit and not a Minor suit. The responses follow the same pattern. The advantage to this extended version of Baby Blackwood is the possibility of the following:
After a 1 opening
- 2 No Trump asking for Aces
- 3 No Trump asking for Kings
- 4 No Trump asking for Queens
- 5 No Trump asking for Jacks
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.