Sunday, April 2, 2017

Imagination is more important than knowledge

"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 time.

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♣.

But wait!

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.

Think again.

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 over 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.  Calm down.

The beauty of Kickback‼

Partner hesitates over 7♣. You don't move, don't breathe, don't flinch, poker face, poker everything. Partner finally passes. Phew!

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 :-)

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