We all know – we do, don’t we? – that you never use Blackwood when you have a void. The reason is simple: holding a hand like ♠KQJ987-♥-♦KQ8-♣AJ105, you open 1♠. Partner shows a strong spade raise and you roll out old Blacky. Partner shows 1 ace. Now what? Obviously, if that one ace is the ♠A or ♣A, you have a great chance of making six. But what if it’s the ♥A, the suit in which you’re void? Now you are missing the two cashing aces so the most you can make is 5♠.
Blackwood clearly wasn’t much help there, was it? The best way to bid any hand with a void and slam interest is to use control bids. Say partner eventually raises you to 4♠. Rather than bid 4NT, bid 5♣, telling partner you have the ♣A. If your partner is as good as you think she is, she will bid 5♦, promising the ♦A. Now you can safely bid the slam. If partner isn’t as good as you think she is, she will bid 5♥, promising the ♥A but denying the A♦ (you always bid your lowest-ranked ace first). Since you were hoping for the A♦, not the ♥A, slam is no longer a winning proposition.
But what about those situations where partner bids 4NT and you have the void? Here’s the most common way to respond
- With no aces and a void, ignore the void and just tell partner you have no aces
- With one ace and a void, bid your void at 6-level. For example, after 1♥-4♥-4NT, if you have one ace and a void in clubs, bid 6♣. With a void in diamonds, bid 6♦.
- With two aces and a void, bid 5NT.
Sometimes your void is in a higher-ranking suit than the trump suit. For example, the auction goes 1♥-4♥-4NT and this time you have one ace and a void in spades. Obviously, you can’t bid 6♠ so bid 6♥ instead. Again, the jump will tell partner you have one ace and a void in higher-raking suit than trumps, in this case spades.