It's a frantic week for me coming up, so although I have a couple of substantive subjects to blog about, for now I'll settle for tidying up a few little scraps here and there.
I've done some housekeeping on the website. There's some more material in the section on Fit Bidding, and I've briefly summarised Attitude Asks in the section on new ideas. While doing that it struck me as good idea to link back from the website to the relevant blogs, so I've started doing that with links from the page on shunts.
How do voids affect keycards asks? If you have a void which you have splintered, you can ask keycards and follow up with a feature ask to see if partner has the no-ace; and if partner has splintered, you can follow up similarly to see if that suit was void. The problem with both of these is that you often don't have the space to do it.
Consider the routine auction 1♠ - 4♦; 4♥ - 4NT; 5♥. Responder's splinter finds opener with values-for-five, and the keycard ask finds two. All very encouraging but - would you adam and eve it - you've gone past 5♦, so can't find out if one those keycards was the diamond ace opposite your void.
Or conversely: 1♣ - 2♦; 2♥ - 2NT; 4♣ - 4♠; 5♦. If you've read p124-125 you will know that 4♣ is a splinter, and 5♦ shows two keycards, but you've lost the chance to ask if the splinter was a void.
There has always been a solution to first sequence: the exclusion ask. Instead of asking with 4NT, use 5♦ instead, and partner will exclude the diamond ace from the answer. But the exclusion ask doesn't help in the second case.
Or does it? What does an exclusion ask in partner's splinter suit mean, when the splinter has already denied an ace in that suit?
The answer could be that responder should be adding one to the response to a normal keycard ask if void in a suit previously splintered. Playing that way, with an ace in partner's splinter suit you use an exclusion ask instead so that one is not added for a void. That all seems logical, and preserves the meaning of the exclusion ask, but it needs some testing, both for functional and psychological soundness.
Speak again soon