Blackwood and Gerber
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Blackwood and Gerber

  Basically 4NT asks for aces in a suit contract and 4 asks for aces in a NT contract  



4NT is usually the ace asking bid,

the responses to the 4NT ask are: - 5 = 0 or 4 aces
  5 = 1 ace
  5 = 2 aces
  5 = 3 aces

and if the asker is interested in a grand slam, he may ask for kings with 5NT: -

the responses to the 5NT ask are: - 6 = 0 or 4 kings
  6 = 1 king
  6 = 2 kings
  6 = 3 kings

One normally only asks for kings if all of the aces are present.




When it looks like the contract will be in NoTrumps, 4 is usually used to ask for aces

the responses to the 4 ask are: - 4 = 0 or 4 aces
  4 = 1 ace
  4 = 2 aces
  4NT = 3 aces

Note that after the response is given, a 4NT bid by asker is to play. If the asker is interested in a grand slam he may asks for kings with 5 : -

the responses to the 5 ask are: - 5 = 0 or 4 kings
  5 = 1 king
  5 = 2 kings
  5NT = 3 kings

Again one normally only asks for kings if all of the aces are present.

  Note that if partner's last bid was 3NT (such as in the sequence 1 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 3NT from news-sheet 294) then Gerber is always a JUMP in 's. So 4 would be natural and looking for a slam and 5 is Gerber asking for aces. If 's had not been bid naturally then you could agree that 4 is Gerber over partner's 3NT.  

Variations of Blackwood


As one might expect, different partnerships may have different agreements and there are many variations of Blackwood (Gerber is pretty much standard).


The best of the modern methods is undoubtedly Roman Keycard Blackwood (RKCB), where the king of trumps is included alongside the aces and the asker is also given information about the queen of trumps. There are two main versions of RKCB: 3014 and 1430. Standard is 3014 (5 = 0 or 3 keycards), 1430 is meant to give more room when asking for the trump queen. However, the advantages of 1430 are minimal and the only real solution to a possible lack of space in asking for the trump queen is to play Kickback. Playing Kickback, 4 of the suit above trumps asks for keycards. There are numerous other variations of Blackwood but most are really a waste of time.


Baby Blackwood is perhaps worth considering it is a bid of 3NT over partner's 1/ opening to ask for aces.


Some players insist that 4 should always be the ace ask this really is just what a few beginners do and 4 should only be used for NoTrump contracts or sometimes when NoTrumps have been bid. Most players use both 4 and 4NT depending upon the bidding and a scheme for stating whether 4 or 4NT should be used as the ace or keycard ask is given in the Blackwood or Gerber?' link.


One exception to 4NT being used as Blackwood is when partner pre-empts at the three level. He necessarily has very few aces/keycards and it's sensible to use 4 over partner's 3// pre-empt and 4 over a 3 pre-empt to ask for keycards.

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