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Kickback

#1 User is offline   BillPatch 

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Posted 2015-August-15, 12:22

I noticed a new book titled Kickback advertised In Baron/Barclay catalog. Any comments? Kantar's system of Key Card asks was said to be as complex as using Kickback. Is this book a good way to learn Kickback? Is it easier to remember than Kantar's methods?
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#2 User is offline   SteelWheel 

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Posted 2015-August-16, 07:13

View PostBillPatch, on 2015-August-15, 12:22, said:

I noticed a new book titled Kickback advertised In Baron/Barclay catalog. Any comments? Kantar's system of Key Card asks was said to be as complex as using Kickback. Is this book a good way to learn Kickback? Is it easier to remember than Kantar's methods?

Without having read this book, or knowing anything about it, my advice is stay away from Kickback. Unless you have a very serious partnership that is dedicated to working out which auctions are Kickback and which are not, it's just not worth it. The one time you manage to keep the bidding lower because you can bid 4 as Kickback for clubs will be more than offset by the number of times you find yourself playing 4 when you're cold for 6.

I've never done more than briefly skim Kantar's book, but his key principle is that responder to a 4NT call should be in a position where his most frequent call will be 5, giving you the most room to mess around with followup asks, etc. It's probably marginally easier to learn that (or at least some of it) than committing to Kickback as your default method of Ace-asking.

Just my opinion.
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#3 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2015-August-16, 10:10

For those who don't know Kickback uses the step above 4 of trump as the Keycard ask. So for:
- 4
- 4
- 4
- 4N (as normal)

It is critical in Kickback to know what trump is if your going to ask.

One nice thing because you are lower you can always use 3014

I find auctions where say, you bid naturally 4 forward going and partner can take over by asking for keycards, very helpful.

when you have 2 suits that are touching is very critical to know which is trump as Bill says.
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#4 User is offline   BillPatch 

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Posted 2015-August-16, 13:18

View PostSteelWheel, on 2015-August-16, 07:13, said:

Without having read this book, or knowing anything about it, my advice is stay away from Kickback. Unless you have a very serious partnership that is dedicated to working out which auctions are Kickback and which are not, it's just not worth it. The one time you manage to keep the bidding lower because you can bid 4 as Kickback for clubs will be more than offset by the number of times you find yourself playing 4 when you're cold for 6.

I've never done more than briefly skim Kantar's book, but his key principle is that responder to a 4NT call should be in a position where his most frequent call will be 5, giving you the most room to mess around with followup asks, etc. It's probably marginally easier to learn that (or at least some of it) than committing to Kickback as your default method of Ace-asking.

Just my opinion.

That is one principle In Kantar's evolving series on KCB. Last edition, Roman Key Card: the Final Word: Another principle was that a partnership should adopt it in stages: 1. 4NT and direct responses to it and subsequent 5NT, 2. trump queen ask, 3. Other asks rebid after using 4NT. Further steps were used for various lower asks with minor suit agreement, and higher asks when asker shows a void(Voidwood). I am quite familiar with the first 3, and KC Voidwood, which occur in the Bridge World "Master Solvers Club", with the older 0314 responses. in the system Bridge World Standard. As you noted Kantar uses dual responses where the partnership assigns a strong man and a weak man in choosing responses to the non-Voidwood Key Card Asks. The strong man(usually the opening bidder)uses 1430, the weak hand uses 0314. Voidwood uses 0314.

Kantar presents a complicated set of agreements to set the key card ask when a minor suit is agreed: sometimes 4 of the minor, sometimes 4 of the other minor, and other times 4N. The reviewer at Bridge World stated that this was as complex as Kickback.
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#5 User is offline   baraka 

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Posted 2015-August-16, 20:00

View PostBillPatch, on 2015-August-15, 12:22, said:

I noticed a new book titled Kickback advertised In Baron/Barclay catalog. Any comments? Kantar's system of Key Card asks was said to be as complex as using Kickback. Is this book a good way to learn Kickback? Is it easier to remember than Kantar's methods?


My view is stay away from kickback. If you have a serious partnership though, Redwood in some specific situatrions is nice...

1)After an inverted minor sequence (criss-cross or not) where it is shure you wont play in a major and have passed 3NT to 4 in the minor.

2) After a 1NT opening, a MSS or MST followed by a 3 level new suit showing a splinter by responder. If opener flees to 4 of the minor, showing no interest in 3NT then Redwood is on.
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#6 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2015-August-17, 03:45

View Postbaraka, on 2015-August-16, 20:00, said:

My view is stay away from kickback. If you have a serious partnership though, Redwood in some specific situatrions is nice...

1)After an inverted minor sequence (criss-cross or not) where it is shure you wont play in a major and have passed 3NT to 4 in the minor.

2) After a 1NT opening, a MSS or MST followed by a 3 level new suit showing a splinter by responder. If opener flees to 4 of the minor, showing no interest in 3NT then Redwood is on.

But if you were playing kickback, the same thing applies. Kickback IS only for regular serious partnerships, and redwood is only a halfway house. I think any regular partnership should try it to see if it suits them, and any competent club pair can use it successfully.
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#7 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2015-August-17, 10:04

Kickback is fine, and you will have some black eyes occasionally. If you aren't in a serious partnership or you don't feel the need to take the time to discuss what is kickback and what isn't, don't play it.

But top players play these methods for a reason, and there are times when you need to know about key cards. Using 4N as the only ask gets you frequently too high.
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#8 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2015-August-17, 13:14

You have to be willing to accept a few bruises when adopting a new convention. Otherwise, you might as well stick to what you learned in the beginner's class.
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#9 User is offline   Mbodell 

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Posted 2015-August-25, 00:54

View Poststeve2005, on 2015-August-16, 10:10, said:

One nice thing because you are lower you can always use 3014


I'll reply that this is silly, in that there is really very little reason to prefer 3014 to 1430 anyways. And for many/most people who would be learning kickback now, they are probably more used to 1430 anyways.
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#10 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2015-August-25, 05:18

And you could say that the whole concept of 3041 and 1403 is silly because you are playing kickback. Ace compression is needed when you have a 4NT asking bid for all suits, but when you play kickback you do not need to have compression like this. Have you never been in a pre-empted position, or a very distributional situation, where you do not know if the answer is 0 or 3? You do not need this ambiguity.
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#11 User is offline   keylime 

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Posted 2015-August-25, 11:59

My view about Kickback has evolved over the years. I used to love it and used it quite a bit. These days tho, I think there are better mechanisms available.
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#12 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2015-August-25, 12:34

Just my opinion:

The fear of going down in 4 when 6 is cold is nonsense. Yes, when you start playing kickback, you will forget the convention, just like people will play 2 in a 2-2 fit after 1NT-Pass-2- All pass. But that will be over soon if you have any bridge talent. (And if you don't have bridge talent, I recommend that you don't try RKCB either. Just stick with Blackwood.) And in my bridge career I have lost hundreds of IMPs when I didn't know whether we played 1430 or 0314 when I played RKCB. My loss in playing kickback has been limited to about 14, since I forgot the convention only once. (My kickback partner has never forgotten it.)

Kickback is nothing more than flipping the meaning of two bids: the cuebid of 1 above the trump suit and 4NT.

So, if partner passes your 4 kickback bid, because he thought it was natural, he would have also passed a 4 cuebid (if you would play RKCB), because he would also think that that was natural.

There are two big advantages to kickback, related to each other:
- The ace asking happens at a lower level.
- The ace asking happens at such a low level that the rest of the auction can be standardized and become independent of the trump suit.

That last part is important. It is not so important to lower the level of ace asking. It is important to lower it enough to make the system independent of the trump suit. Most will not understand how the system depends on the trump suit when playing RKCB, so I will illustrate this:

Suppose we are playing RKCB (1430/0314, I don't care).
Spades are trump, we ask for keycards and get a reply of 5. Now 5 asks for the trump queen.
Diamonds are trump, we ask for keycards and get a reply of 5. Now 5 asks for the trump queen.

These two cases seem, at first glance, to be the same. But they are very different. When spades are trump, 5 is a try for a small slam (since we can still stop in 5). When diamonds are trump, 5 is a try for a grand slam (since it got us past 5).

In RKCB, the meaning of the queen asking bid depends on the trump suit. In kickback, the meaning of the queen asking bid is standardized: It is a small slam try.

Does kickback have drawbacks? Yes, but the fear of forgetting the convention is not one of them. The biggest drawback is that you have less room to cuebid. This is particularly true when a minor is set as trumps. In that case, bids between 3m and 3NT are ambiguous: they typically show a stop for 3NT, but they may be a cue for slam. This means that the partner who was merely showing stops for slam has not been cuebidding... and now we are deciding whether to ask for keycards or whether to continue cueing. If you play RKCB, you don't have that problem. You have the rest of the 4-level to cue. (However, you may have the problem of deciding whether 4NT was asking for aces or a suggestion to play. ;) )

I like kickback so much that we have other structures that use a similar concept. As an example, after a 1 opening, 2NT is Jacoby 2NT, our game forcing spade raise, with a nice rebid structure for opener, just like for most pairs. After a 1 opener, 2 is "Jacoby 2NT", our game forcing heart raise. It has the same rebid structure, just one bid lower, which has the same position relative to the bids in the trump suit. The same holds for our "Bergen like" raises: 1-3 has the same meaning as 1-3, except that we are dealing with different trump suits. Once I was familiar with the concept of bids "relative to the trump bids" (which happened really fast) I found it much easier to play than "suit X means Y".

Rik
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#13 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2015-August-25, 17:30

I have a recent book on Kickback by Robert Munger. In it, he talks about situations where you want the Kickback bid (one above 4 of the trump suit) to be natural, and recommends bumping the keycard ask up a level - and using 1430 when you do. Seems an added complication. He doesn't talk about it that I recall, but some folks I know play that if trump is set by a natural or artificial raise, kickback is always on, so if hearts are agreed, 4 is kickback, willy-nilly. Not sure how good an agreement that is, but at least it has the virtue of simplicity.

The Useful Space Principal is a good thing to know — and apply. B-)
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#14 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2015-August-26, 06:12

View PostTrinidad, on 2015-August-25, 12:34, said:

Once I was familiar with the concept of bids "relative to the trump bids" (which happened really fast) I found it much easier to play than "suit X means Y".

Same principle in my non-Bergen methods. In fact you never think of it as "1 3" but as "1M 3M-2" as that is the same in both majors, and easier for your system notes!
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#15 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2015-August-26, 06:34

View Postblackshoe, on 2015-August-25, 17:30, said:

I have a recent book on Kickback by Robert Munger. In it, he talks about situations where you want the Kickback bid (one above 4 of the trump suit) to be natural, and recommends bumping the keycard ask up a level - and using 1430 when you do. Seems an added complication. He doesn't talk about it that I recall, but some folks I know play that if trump is set by a natural or artificial raise, kickback is always on, so if hearts are agreed, 4 is kickback, willy-nilly. Not sure how good an agreement that is, but at least it has the virtue of simplicity.

It seems to me that bumping ace asking up a level is not a good idea. If you want to ace ask in hearts but spades have been bid naturally, there is a serious chance that your kickback partner will think 4NT is asking in spades, no? Or is it 5 to ask in hearts, and 5 to ask in spades !! Whenever you have bid adjacent suits you need to have clear rules on ace asking. "If trumps are agreed by a raise" is a good rule, as is "a jump to a potentially ace asking bid (without prior agreement) is ace asking", but the point is a partnership needs to discuss such rules.
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#16 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2015-August-26, 06:39

View Poststeve2005, on 2015-August-16, 10:10, said:

It is critical in Kickback to know what trump is if your going to ask.
One nice thing because you are lower you can always use 3014
I find auctions where say, you bid naturally 4 forward going and partner can take over by asking for keycards, very helpful.
when you have 2 suits that are touching is very critical to know which is trump as Bill says.
Especially when playing a strong , rather than agree a trump-suit, you can sometimes use kickback to set a trump-suit. A possible scheme:
  • 4 = PUP. Stop signal, Forcing 4. Then (for example) you can sign-off in game.
  • 4///N = RKC. Kickback, setting suit below as trumps,

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#17 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2015-August-26, 17:08

View PostfromageGB, on 2015-August-26, 06:34, said:

Whenever you have bid adjacent suits you need to have clear rules on ace asking.

So, you have bid hearts and spades and play RKCB. Your partner bids 4NT. Are you going to show the K or the K, or both?

Whenever you have bid multiple suits, whether you play kickback or not, you simply need to have clear rules on what the trump suit is.

Rik
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#18 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2015-August-27, 05:32

View PostTrinidad, on 2015-August-26, 17:08, said:

So, you have bid hearts and spades and play RKCB. Your partner bids 4NT. Are you going to show the K or the K, or both?
Whenever you have bid multiple suits, whether you play kickback or not, you simply need to have clear rules on what the trump suit is.

I was talking in the kickback context. If you are not playing kickback then of course you need rules, but you don't have the same "adjacent suits" problem.
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#19 User is offline   BillPatch 

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Posted 2015-September-06, 12:19

View PostBillPatch, on 2015-August-15, 12:22, said:

I noticed a new book titled Kickback advertised In Baron/Barclay catalog. Any comments? Kantar's system of Key Card asks was said to be as complex as using Kickback. Is this book a good way to learn Kickback? Is it easier to remember than Kantar's methods?

I received the book from Amazon about two weeks ago. Robert Munger. Kickback, Slam Bidding at Bridge. Toronto: Master Point Press. 2014. I loved the book, though from the blank expressions on some of my partner's faces when I "accidently" tried a queen ask in normal RKC, there are many other things I need to teach first. A pity. Munger has distilled the essence of this convention into a minimum set of concise, but understandable rules that retain 98% of the power of the system of key card asks developed in his 5th RKC book: Roman Key Card Blackwood, the Final Word, with only about 20% of the memory work. In Kantar's work 4NT is the only key card ask for the majors. For the minors the key card ask may be same suit KCB, or next suit KCB, depending on bidding sequence. Also, in the Kantar methods, 1430 responses are used when the asker is assumed to be the stronger hand, and 0314 the other way around. In Munger's methods, 98% of the time 0314 is used. The other 2% are logically explained, occur only when the suit immediately above the agreed suit has been previously bid by the partner ship so it must be skipped over as a potential trump suit.

Like Kantar's RKC, the method can be learned and played in discrete steps. After the first 15 pages which are chapter 1 Starting Out, and Chapter 2 What's Trump? Offers a first stepping stone for students who have not mastered the intricacies of RKC. (From the construction of the book Munger suggests that the first six chapters be completed before the first comprehensive quiz: this teaching suggestion is my own.) Most of the other chapters correspond to the regular treatments of RKC starting at 4NT, by transferring the corresponding asks and responses down as many levels corresponding to the ask suit. For example, the K ask at Ask suit + 5 corresponds to the usual rules for showing individual kings after the 4NT+5= 5NT K ask. The trump queen ask is the next step above responder's first response that is not a potential trump suit as in RKC. The new material can be introduced at whatever rate the class can digest it.
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#20 User is offline   kenrexford 

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Posted 2015-September-06, 15:41

Kickback is ok, but if you want to go all in, my earlier book, Variable Key Card Blackwood, introduces ace asking methods that make Kickback seem silly. With VKCB, you can distinguish between whether the key cards are all aces, or includes the trump King. You can also in many sequences answer key card by also showing the holding or lack thereof of another side key card, or even two, like the king and queen of the secondary suit. All of this below five of the agreed suit.

VKCB is to Kickback what Kickback I'd to Easley's Blackwood.
"Gibberish in, gibberish out. A trial judge, three sets of lawyers, and now three appellate judges cannot agree on what this law means. And we ask police officers, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and citizens to enforce or abide by it? The legislature continues to write unreadable statutes. Gibberish should not be enforced as law."

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