Easley blackwood's ingenious dowsing rod for locating aces and kings has been in public use for a rather long time. Unfortunately, there remain hordes of players who fail to recognize that their Blackwood franchise conveys both rights and obligations.

The asker enjoys the privilege of backing his partner into a corner and demanding to know how many aces he holds. Painful though it might be, the responder must assume the role of the stooge. He must answer questions but, with rare and specifically prescribed exceptions, he may not ad-lib.

In presenting the following deal, it is not our purpose to glorify crime. In fact, we intend to express righteous indignation with North's recalcitrant refusal to conform. But it may be that the yarn we started to spin has got a bit out of hand.

When North made a jump raise of the opening bid, South was amply justified in cocking his arm for a slam effort. He reasoned properly that if partner held two aces the slam would be a virtual cinch and even with only one ace there should be a reasonable chance if partner could produce a heart holding that was not too unattractive.

However, North's five-club response confessed to an utter lack of aces and South, of course, signed off at five spades. North, imbued with the idea that he held more than he might have had for his jump to three spades, went blithely on to six spades.

Observe please that South had announced in no uncertain terms: "Partner, if you have no aces a slam is unmakable." But North, not in a mood to be regimented, expressed views of his own in a manner which said scornfully: "Partner, I am convinced that you know not whereof you speak."

Because I must doff my hat to success, the discipline of my organization has been torn to shreds. After the lead of the 6 of spades, if declarer was emotionally affected at sight of the "impossible" dummy that North put down he gave no outward indication of it. He won in dummy and immediately led a diamond.

Without discussing the merits of East's play, we merely report that he ducked, hoping to put declarer to a guess. South's choice of the card to play is noteworthy. He selected the queen, thus painting for West a false picture of a finesse against the king.

Declarer then led the club 7. West took the trick and led a heart, hoping to find partner with a trick in that suit. Declarer was in, drew trumps and shed his three remaining diamonds on dummy's good clubs.

No brief is held for the defense, but South deserves a full measure of tribute for making his plays in just the sequence to provide him with whatever chance there was of bringing home his forlorn hope, even though the result—from East and West's viewpoint—was a complete miscarriage of justice.

EXTRA TRICK

The Blackwood Four-Five No Trump Convention has several valuable safeguards that would increase its efficiency if only more players observed them. First: the asker must be safe at the bid to which he will be forced by any response. Second: the responder must do no more than his duty unless, by a bid of five no trump, the news is joyfully released that the slambound side holds all the aces. Only then, freed of fear of losing a first round trick, is the responder at liberty to act more boldly.

PHOTO

Neither side vulnerable South deals

NORTH

[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[Queen of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[9 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]

WEST

[8 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[7 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[10 of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

[Ace of Spades]
[King of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[7 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

EAST

[9 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[Queen of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[9 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

1 [Spade]
4 N.T.
5 [Spade]
PASS

WEST

PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS

NORTH

3 [Spade]
5 [Club]
6 [Spade]

EAST

PASS
PASS
PASS

Opening lead: spade 6

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)