"Imagination is more important than knowledge," said Einstein.
This hand occurred on BBO in a JEC match last week. You have:
And see (not hear!) partner open... 1♣.
You play Walsh, so you know partner has 5 clubs and 4 spades (in some
rare instances, partner could have 44). How
convenient! You envision a club slam.
Do you jump to KCB? No. Control your emotions. Take your
You play XYZ where 2♦
is GF. Here it coincides with 4th suit forcing, more classical.
You know (almost) everything about partner's distribution: 4 spades, at
most 1 heart, at least 3 diamonds and at least 5 clubs.
Partner cannot have 4144, he would have opened 1♦.
Now, if you want to play a slam in clubs, you have to set
trumps. So you have to bid 4♣.
You have to ask yourself: who should ask for keycards?
Partner, or you? This is very important. Who will
benefit more from asking? Who can extract the maximum
information from KCB? You know you have the KQ of trumps, so
that Q is not critical anymore.
Here, if your partner goes KCB, he will know about your Aces and King
and Queen of trumps, he will be able to ask if you have the K of heart,
but not the spade Queen, which could be the most precious card in your
hand if he has AK. The spade Q is maybe the 13th
trick. Unless you play exotic asking bids, which happen at
very high level. You have discussed sometimes about those
rare birds, but never seriously sat down to establish a FIRM
understanding of that machinery.
So you say to yourself: I have to ask for keycards. But wait ‼
If you go 4NT, will partner know you are asking with clubs as
trumps? No. Hum…! What now?
The more you think, the less you
know how to go about this business.
How can I set trumps and not let partner ask for keycards?
You have to go KCB yourself, before he does.
What do you want to know? You want to know if partner has the
Ace of clubs and AK of spades. That would make 12 tricks with
a spade ruff if necessary. But if partner has the K of
diamonds, that would make 13. Do you see the light dawning a
bit in your brains?
Imagination is more
important than knowledge chimes into your head, and you
see Einstein sticking his tongue out, laughing at you.
In your twisted mind, so much that you can feel your head spinning a
bit, you formulate what appears to be a heresy: if I go KCB
for diamonds, what will happen? You never tried to set a
false trump suit to gain critical information from your
partner? Well, you are missing the thrill of your
life. Obviously, partner has to have confidence in you when
you will drive him to a grand in a suit he never knew you had a fit.
So here goes: if you go KCB, partner will think diamonds are
trumps (agreed trump suit or last suit bid) and he will answer.
With Kickback KCB, the suit above our trump suit at the 4 level is
KCB. So you have the same space as 4NT with spades as trump.
But wait, you say. This 4♥
bid cannot be to play? No. In XYZ, responder with
long hearts and goodish hand could jump to 4♥
to play over 1♠. And he would jump to 3♥ over 1♠ to show solid
hearts and slam interest. And if he has long broken hearts
with GF, he would bid 3♥
4NT says 03 (I know, I know, partner could have KJxx Q
KQx Jxxxx and bid the same. Aren't you a party
pooper?). So partner rates to have the 2 black Aces and… the
K of trumps (!), diamonds. Your mind is racing.
The beauty of Kickback‼
Partner hesitates over 7♣. You don't move, don't breathe, don't flinch,
poker face, poker everything. Partner finally
I did that a few times in my bridge career, setting a false trump suit.
One of my partners "corrected" 2 times (going down each time) before
finally passing the 3rd time. She is still my most precious
and adored partner :-)
Let's see now the rest of Einstein's quotation:
For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand,
while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be
to know and understand.
Bridge sometimes invites us to travel to another dimension. You can say
Yes or you can say No.
If you say No, because you feel it is too complicated, demanding,
tiring, stressing, if you don't want to wander out of your comfort
zone, fine, it's your life. You will make 6 clubs with an
overtrick and saw that others were in 7, making. You will
console yourself by saying At
least we bid six.
But if you say Yes more often, if you take a risk, a calculated risk,
if you embark courageously on an unfamiliar journey, like Theseus, so
unfamiliar that you can sense your nerves shaking, and you reach safely
the destination you had envisioned, you will feel so much more alive.
But you need a wife/partner who is on the same wavelength as you :-)