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.