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Modified 4-Person Specific Ace Ask Wood

Since there are no bonus points for bidding and making 4NT instead of 3NT, there is really no reason you'd ever want to bid 4NT to play in a constructive auction. Because of that, we can make use of this idle space for a conventional bid. Statistically speaking, the most effective use of this bid is a convention I've developed called Modified 4-Person Specific Ace Ask Wood (M4PSAAW).

Here's how it works. 4NT is a relay to 5C. The next opponent doubles holding the ace of clubs. 5C forces 5D. The next opponent doubles holding the ace of diamonds. And so forth. Both players ignore any double and complete the relay, but redouble is play. Note also that the relayer can break the relay into any slam.

The complete schedule of bids follows. It is fairly complicated so I suggest writing it on some flash cards for practicing.

4N M4PSAAW: Relay to 5C.

5C Relay to 5D

5D Relay to 5H

5H Relay to 5S

5S Relay to 5N

5N Waiting

6C Relay to 6D

6D Relay to 6H

6H Relay to 6S

6S Forced

Here is an example of M4PSAAW in action, taken from a recent Cavendish.

West
54
54
A9876
A987
North
AQ106
KJ987
KQJ10
East
32
32
5432
65432
South
KJ987
AQ106
KQJ10
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
4N
P
5
P
5
X
5
P
5
P
5N
P
6
X
6
P
6
P
6
P
7
D

Clearly the grand slam requires guessing which ruffing finesse to take. Without M4PSAAW, you would not know which one to take. This convention essentially gives declarer all the info required to bring this contract home.

You may wonder why this is "modified." In the original version of 4PSAAW, the relays stopped at 5N and aces were only located by inference. It was found that the 5NT waiting modification increased the effectiveness, especially in grand slam auctions.

As always, if you wish to include this feature 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.

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