Join Bridge Winners
My ACBL NABC Online Individual Journey - Day 1
(Page of 25)

Time for another attempt at the Online Individual.  I practiced quite a lot on the $0.25 tourneys, trying to perfect my technique.  I discovered that since the last Online National, the robots have gotten significanltly stronger.  They seem a little quicker to pick up on the fact that you may have bid outside the bounds of what your bid was supposed to show.  Their defense, will still suspect, is a bit stronger.  And they are very aggressive overcalling strong notrumps, and it was worked spectacularly well for them (against me, anyway).

Most importanly, my wild tactics have produced far fewer tops than in times past.  I decided for this tourney to dial back the aggressiveness a couple of notches and see if I can just out-declare or out-defend the robots rather than just bid wildly and hope for a good result.

One important note:  The hands I played may not be the same as the hands you played.

Robot
Q10
KJ107
J8765
63
Robot
J5
A53
K92
J8752
Robot
K743
42
Q43
AQ94
Sterman
A9862
Q986
A10
K10
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
P
P
D
1
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
6
2
A
10
2
0
1
4
8
10
A
1
1
1
5
4
8
10
0
1
2
7
2
Q
A
3
2
2
10
8
9
4
3
3
2
A
Q
J
3
3
4
2
K
3
5
4
3
5
2
6
J
7
7
2
5
3
K
2
7
3
2
5
4
3
6
6
K
1
6
4
5
2
Q
K
0
6
5
5
8
9
9
3
7
5
9
J
J
Q
0
7
6
N/S -50
13

A fairly standard sequence to 2S.  The robots led a club to the Ace and a heart back, my Eight forcing the Ten forcing the Ace.  I then considered how to play the spade suit.  It turns out the only successful line is to cross to the Ace of diamonds and lead a spade towards the Jack.  No matter what you smother the Ten and only lose two spades.

I instead led a spade to the Eight and Ten.  A diamond came back, the robot East playing the Queen.  The robot always plays lowest from touching honors, so I knew the Jack was on my left.  To prove it, I led the Ten of diamonds and passed it successfully.  I cashed the Ace of trumps, dropping the Queen.  I marked time by cashing the King of clubs.  I then exited with a spade hoping for a 3-3 break, but alas.  The computer played two spades, then exited with a diamond, which allowed me to pitch one of my heart losers.  No matter; I was still down one.

This was worth 51.9%.  2S-1 was the most common result.  Some went down two, some made it, and some passed their robot partner's forcing 1NT and were able to make seven or eight tricks.

Robot
KQ4
985432
7
A74
Robot
1085
AQ10
J654
J103
Robot
J3
76
K109
Q98652
Sterman
A9762
KJ
AQ832
K
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
4
P
P
P
D
2
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
7
5
9
Q
3
1
0
K
9
10
7
3
2
0
J
8
Q
6
1
3
0
A
3
6
3
3
4
0
A
4
5
J
3
5
0
2
K
8
9
0
5
1
Q
10
2
7
0
5
2
5
4
8
9
3
6
2
A
4
J
K
3
7
2
8
7
6
10
2
7
3
6
K
A
3
0
7
4
4
10
5
2
0
7
5
2
J
Q
3
0
7
6
N/S -300
13

 

With a good 5-5, I raised myself to 4S.  The diamond lead went to the Nine and Queen.  I was positive the diamonds were 1-3, which meant I had a diamond, a club, and two spades to lose.  I played three hearts immediately, planning to pitch my club loser.  East ruffed the third heart, however.  That was almost as good, however; if East started with three spades, all I had to do was overruff and play Ace-and-a-spade to hold my spade losers to one, with plenty of time to get the diamonds going.

Alas, East had two spades only, and West was able to cash the King-Queen of spades and exit with a heart, forcing out my last spade.  In vain did I hope the diamonds had started 2-2.  I had lost control of the hand and drifted down three, -300 and 20%.

I stepped away from the computer after this result.  I played it over and over in my head, and I can't think of any reason not to play the way I did.  I was incredibly unlucky that one robot had started with two hearts and two spades.  There was no reason to just meekly accept down one and every reason to try and make it.  I kept telling myself that over and over until I believed it, then went back to the computer.

In looking at the traveller, I was honestly surprised at how many declarers did just play for down one.  I think that's losing strategy, but they have the last laugh:  They got 66% instead of my lowly 20%.

Robot
KQ9
5
A62
J109732
Robot
1083
10432
J3
AK54
Robot
754
876
Q98754
Q
Sterman
AJ62
AKQJ9
K10
86
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
4
P
P
P
D
3
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
3
4
A
3
1
0
A
5
2
6
3
2
0
K
3
3
8
3
3
0
Q
2
4
7
3
4
0
2
Q
8
7
0
4
1
A
3
9
10
0
4
2
6
J
Q
K
3
5
2
11 tricks claimed
N/S +450
7

Another 1M-2M-4M sequence, albeit with a slightly weaker hand.  But I got a much better result; West made a friendly spade lead, then later made a friednly diamond lead, elminiating my guess there.  I took eleven tricks easily, a many-way tie for top with 65.4%.

Robot
9874
QJ32
85
A106
Robot
A
9864
Q109742
Q8
Robot
J1065
AK75
K3
532
Sterman
KQ32
10
AJ6
KJ974
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1
P
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
P
P
D
4
1NT North
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
4
10
Q
1
1
0
8
5
9
A
0
1
1
Q
4
7
10
0
1
2
3
6
K
2
2
1
3
A
6
2
8
2
1
4
J
3
9
A
1
2
4
Q
3
A
5
3
3
4
K
6
2
3
3
4
4
J
4
4
5
3
5
4
7
8
7
10
3
6
4
K
7
9
6
3
7
4
Q
8
10
5
3
8
4
J
J
9
K
2
8
5
N/S +120
13

In times past I would open these hands 1NT, but today I opened 1C.  I still ended up in 1NT, but not without telling the robot defenders a lot about the two hands first.

West led a club to the Ten and Queen.  I could now set up four club tricks easily.  I didn't want to set up an extra trick for the defense by risking the diamond finesse; I could lose a diamond, a club, and four or five hearts.  I simply knocked out the Ace of clubs.  The robot actually gave me a second chance at nine tricks by only cashing three hearts then exiting with a spade.  I simply couldn't risk the overtrick I already had, esepcially since West might win and cash two more hearts.  I simply cashed out.

+120 was worth 19.2%.  The diamonds are super friendly, and I had ten tricks on top by taking the diamond finesse.  Indeed, the traveller is full of +180's and +630's.  Fortune favors the bold, and my meekness cost me a bundle on this hand.  I still think I made the right percentage play.

Robot
Q9843
A107
Q1086
10
Robot
A65
KJ42
K75
K93
Robot
J10
953
9432
J852
Sterman
K72
Q86
AJ
AQ764
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
5
3NT North
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
K
4
5
3
1
0
6
7
K
3
1
2
0
9
5
Q
10
3
3
0
8
10
J
9
1
4
0
K
2
4
8
1
5
0
3
J
6
3
2
5
1
5
Q
A
2
0
5
2
8
A
10
2
1
6
2
11 tricks claimed
N/S +660
8

Instead of my usual 3NT blast, I decide to gently explore.  Again, I ended up in the same place anyway.

I won the spade lead and decided to attack hearts.  A heart to the King held, so I crossed to the board to lead another heart, protecting against Ax of hearts with West.  The Jack also held.  I decided to run clubs to see if I could apply pressure to the defense.  This ran into a slight snag when clubs broke badlly.  When I gave East a club trick, it led a heart, setting up my thirteenth heart.  I quickly claimed eleven tricks, +660 and 64%.

Five people took twelve tricks by starting clubs with the King first and subsequently picked up the club suit.

Robot
A1074
53
A1082
KQ8
Robot
9
9742
J74
AJ976
Robot
KJ653
Q108
65
1052
Sterman
Q82
AKJ6
KQ93
43
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
P
P
D
6
1NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
5
2
Q
A
3
1
0
K
A
4
6
0
1
1
4
9
K
2
2
1
2
6
Q
A
6
0
1
3
10
7
3
8
0
1
4
7
9
J
3
2
1
5
5
6
2
J
2
1
6
2
4
8
A
1
2
6
4
8
K
3
3
3
6
7 tricks claimed
N/S +90
9

Absolutely standard 1NT, passed out.  The computer led from its small doubleton, picking up the heart suit for me, but then managing to cash five spades when I then knocked out the Ace of diamonds.  +90 was worth 28.9%.

My mistake was putting up the Queen on the second round of spades, taking my only legitimate chance of East having started with AKxx(x) of spades.  Those declarers that ducked found that West would win *and shift*, allowing declarer to escape with eight tricks.  Those humans that opened 1D found their 4-4 heart fit and got a good result as well.

Something went wrong with this article that can probably be fixed by editing it. Here's what I know: Error loading hand url http://tinyurl.com/ybrzqcvq

Robot
Q9843
52
A8
J753
Robot
76
KQ1064
963
AQ2
Robot
A10
983
KJ742
K108
Sterman
KJ52
AJ7
Q105
964
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1
P
1
P
P
P
D
8
1 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
7
2
10
1
1
0
K
9
J
5
1
2
0
6
A
2
3
2
2
1
8
4
J
Q
1
3
1
7
10
K
4
3
4
1
5
9
Q
2
1
5
1
4
8
A
3
3
6
1
6
7
A
K
1
7
1
3
K
5
8
2
7
2
10
9
5
2
2
7
3
4
10
A
6
0
7
4
Q
6
7
J
1
8
4
9
J
Q
8
3
9
4
N/S +140
13

 

So: open in fourth seat or pass?  If you open, you better go plus.  I decided to open 1C, and passed partner's 1H.

The defense started with a trump.  I won and played a second round to make certain they were breaking, then led a spade.  East helpfully flew with the Ace and even more helpfully exited with a club.  I tried to ruff out the Queen of spades (being careful to ruff high), drew the last trump, and led a diamond up.  With the Jack of diamonds onside and East holding the high club, I couldn't be prevented from taking nine tricks.  +140 was 92.3%, losing only to two people who made nine tricks in 2NT. 

Robot
J87
Q104
J10865
86
Robot
A10943
96
K74
532
Robot
65
AK8732
AQ2
97
Sterman
KQ2
J5
93
AKQJ104
W
N
E
S
P
1
2
P
P
P
D
9
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
6
K
5
2
0
1
A
J
Q
9
2
0
2
9
A
8
2
3
1
2
K
6
3
7
3
2
2
Q
5
5
8
3
3
2
J
8
4
2
3
4
2
10
6
7
7
3
5
2
4
10
K
6
3
6
2
K
7
3
5
3
7
2
11 tricks claimed
N/S +150
9

I decided against doubling with only three spades and a wasted Jack of hearts, so overcalled 2C, to see that call passed out.  I was very disappointed to see five good spades in the dummy.

East cashed two hearts but then failed to see the need to cash the Ace of diamonds, allowing me to draw trumps and run spades.  This was another nearly-universal result.  One person actually bid and made 5C.

Robot
72
A10852
KJ9874
Robot
AJ8765
109543
K
3
Robot
Q1043
AQ
J63
Q1062
Sterman
K92
KJ86
Q974
A5
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
10
4 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
A
9
3
3
1
0
K
2
5
3
3
2
0
4
A
K
3
0
2
1
K
6
6
5
1
3
1
3
Q
K
7
3
4
1
Q
5
4
6
3
5
1
7
8
7
J
1
6
1
5
A
6
2
2
6
2
10
2
J
9
3
7
2
9
10
8
10
2
7
3
Q
8
8
J
1
8
3
A
4
9
7
1
9
3
10
Q
J
4
2
9
4
N/S -100
13

Again I suppressed the urge to open 1NT.  The robot chose to conceal its five-card heart suit to rebid its six-card spade suit.

In 4S I got a club lead.  I decided to draw two rounds of trump ending in the North hand so I could then begin to lead hearts towards the KJxx.  It all went to heck when the spades broke 0-4.  I went after hearts and got a friendly lie there, and decided to try for a trump reduction and endplay.  This would have worked if East had been 4243, but its actual 4234 distribution meant I was down one.  This was worth 46.1%, another shared common result.  Some people started spades by playing the Ace first, and were thus able to hold their trump losers to one.  A few people actually passed 3S, and also got a good matchpoint result.

This is infuriating.  If the robot had simply bid its heart suit, we'd get to 4H, which is unbeatable on this lie of the cards.

Robot
J
AQ94
J97542
K8
Robot
K1043
K8532
K6
52
Robot
Q85
7
108
QJ109764
Sterman
A9762
J106
AQ3
A3
W
N
E
S
1NT
2
P
P
X
P
P
P
D
11
2X West
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
7
J
Q
0
0
1
4
2
4
6
3
1
1
A
K
5
6
3
2
1
3
8
2
Q
2
2
2
J
10
J
10
3
3
2
A
9
3
5
0
3
3
A
K
9
2
0
3
4
4
K
8
3
1
4
4
8
10
6
5
1
5
4
6
10
A
J
3
6
4
Q
9
4
8
3
7
4
7
7
K
Q
1
8
4
5
7
9
2
1
9
4
E/W -800
13

I opened 1NT.  The robot, aggressive as ever, overcalled 2H.  This was passed back to me.  I considered reopening 2S, but my spots were so weak.  I decided to try reopening with a double, knowing I was risking playing in a 4-2 club fit.  To my shock, my robot partner passed.  If we had executed the absolute best defense we could have set this six tricks, holding the robot declarer to just the AQ of hearts.  However, setting it four for +800 was still a complete top, 100%.

The robots really do make crazy overcalls of 1NT sometimes.  I'm amazed the East robot didn't pull to 3C.  This is a level of sophistication that the robot bidders don't have yet.

Robot
9765
AQ976
872
K
Robot
AQ108
852
J964
A5
Robot
KJ104
K1053
Q9843
Sterman
KJ432
3
AQ
J10762
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
12
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
A
4
2
1
1
0
8
3
K
9
3
2
0
2
5
10
4
1
3
0
5
Q
6
2
2
3
1
9
10
6
2
3
4
1
J
8
5
8
3
5
1
7
6
Q
5
1
6
1
A
3
3
7
1
7
1
4
10
Q
7
3
8
1
J
7
8
J
3
9
1
A
9
6
K
3
10
1
4
Q
9
K
3
11
1
3
A
J
10
0
11
2
N/S +650
13

Over the robot's 2C Drury response, instead of blasting I decided to invite.  The robot accepted anyway.  The KC lead was nice.  I played a trump and got the bad news, while East unwisely threw a club.  I drew another round and played a club, East unwisely winning while West discarded a diamond.   A club came back and I ran clubs, the robot staunchly refusing to ruff until the fifth club had been played.  I overuffed and drew the last trump, then took the diamond finesse.  Making 5 was worth 75%.

For once I didn't get the most common result.  At some tables, my hand simply signed off in 2S, which prompted the robots to balance and bid all the way to 4D, neglecting to find their nine-card heart fit.  Those people who were timid to begin with but then doubled and defended adequately were able to collect big penalties of 800, 1100, and 1400.

So far, my set of boards was going out of its way to reward people who bid very, very timidly.

Robot
10987
AQ2
J874
A3
Robot
Q43
KJ754
532
J7
Robot
K5
83
96
KQ98642
Sterman
AJ62
1096
AKQ10
105
W
N
E
S
P
3
P
P
P
D
13
3 East
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
7
2
6
3
1
0
K
4
5
9
3
2
0
10
A
4
3
0
2
1
A
7
2
5
0
2
2
3
J
K
10
2
2
3
Q
10
7
3
2
2
4
9
2
8
7
2
2
5
8
6
9
5
2
2
6
8
9
Q
K
1
3
6
3
5
Q
J
3
4
6
6
2
J
6
2
4
7
4
J
10
Q
2
4
8
K
A
8
4
3
5
8
E/W -100
13

Speaking of timid:  After my robot partner passed and East opened 3C, I studied my flat seven-loser hand and didn't like it.  I tried a pass.  We managed to set it one, but +100 was worth a dismal 26.9%.  The hand plays well if I do make a takeout double, with ten tricks in hearts being easy to make on this lie of the cards.

Dangit.  Wrong time to take the low road.

Robot
1096
6432
A
KJ984
Robot
J7
A9
J432
AQ1052
Robot
Q543
QJ1075
K97
7
Sterman
AK82
K8
Q10865
63
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
P
P
D
14
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
2
9
5
0
0
1
6
A
7
8
1
1
1
7
5
A
6
3
2
1
K
10
J
4
3
3
1
2
9
3
3
1
4
1
9
10
K
2
3
5
1
8
4
4
Q
1
6
1
J
K
6
8
2
6
2
7
3
9
10
1
7
2
A
7
6
J
2
7
3
Q
8
4
2
3
8
3
10 tricks claimed
N/S +130
11

Another frustrating hand.  My robot partner made an inverted raise of diamonds.  I showed my good spade stopper, and my robot partner decided Ax of hearts wasn't good enough a stopper to bid.  Looking at only Kx myself, I decided 3NT was too risky and 5D nearly impossible, so passed.

I could have made eleven tricks if I had decided to double-hook clubs rather than ruff all my spades in the dummy.  The 5-1 club break meant I had to let East ruff a club, holding me to ten tricks and a mere 30%.  Of course, lots of people bid and made 3NT.  Another bad time to take the low road.

This session I seemed to be zigging when I should be zagging.

Robot
J107
Q1092
KQ74
K3
Robot
KQ9
8765
1096
1075
Robot
86543
AKJ
J2
Q42
Sterman
A2
43
A853
AJ986
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
P
1
2
2
P
2
P
2
3
P
P
3
P
P
P
D
15
3 East
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
7
9
8
3
1
0
2
J
Q
4
1
2
0
K
6
8
10
1
3
0
7
2
6
K
0
3
1
2
6
A
3
2
3
2
2
A
4
6
3
4
2
A
3
5
4
3
5
2
9
7
10
Q
2
5
3
J
4
9
5
2
5
4
J
3
K
10
0
5
5
Q
8
K
5
2
5
6
5
8
10
7
2
5
7
3
J
Q
9
2
5
8
E/W -50
13

I opened 1D and rebid 2C at my earliest opportunity, and my robot partner competed to 3D, but that didn't stop the robot opponents from getting to 3S.  I didn't find the low club lead at tricks one or two that would have set them two and had to settle for down one.  To my great surprise with was worth 86%.

Turns out my decision to open 1D on my 45 in the minors paid off.  Those who opened 1C had no convenient way back into the auction over the 1S balance, and thus couldn't push the robots to 3S.  They also didn't find the magical low-club lead and -110 was by far the most common result.

Mind you, if it had occurred to the robot West to double 3D rather than bid 3S, this story would not have had a happy ending.

Robot
J9
9643
43
AK1073
Robot
A10743
AJ5
85
864
Robot
85
87
KQ962
QJ52
Sterman
KQ62
KQ102
AJ107
9
W
N
E
S
 
P
P
P
1N
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
16
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
4
2
9
0
0
1
A
6
5
2
3
1
1
2
4
A
8
1
2
1
8
Q
6
10
3
3
1
K
9
3
8
3
4
1
Q
J
A
5
1
5
1
10
2
7
3
1
6
1
12 tricks claimed
N/S +480
7

I said I going to dial this wild bids down a couple of notches; I didn't say they were going to disappear from my repertoire altogether.  I opened 1NT, then super-accepted partner's transfer by showing my "doubleton" club.  The robot put me in 4S.  Turns out the robot has the perfect hand and the cards are very friendly, and I made twelve tricks easily; 52%.  A 25-way shared top, winning against the one and only person who stopped in 2S.

Robot
KQ8
J10762
AJ1084
Robot
963
A4
A9632
975
Robot
1054
KQ53
KJ8754
Sterman
AJ72
98
Q10
KQ632
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
1NT
2
X
XX
P
4
P
P
P
D
17
4 West
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
5
A
8
3
1
0
2
K
6
10
0
1
1
J
5
3
2
2
1
2
5
10
2
2
0
1
3
Q
9
4
7
0
1
4
A
9
4
3
0
1
5
4
7
5
6
2
1
6
8
Q
6
6
0
1
7
10
9
K
Q
2
1
8
K
J
7
3
0
1
9
8
A
Q
K
2
1
10
J
8
10
A
1
2
10
4
7
9
J
0
2
11
E/W +450
13

I opened 1C and watched the robots sail into 4H.  Nothing in my hand said they were going down, so I didn't double.  I won the spade lead and didn't find the necessary trump shift to prevent the cross-ruff, although I should have.  Letting the robots make an overtrick was thankfully the most common result and was worth 44%, but holding them to ten tricks as I should have would have been 94%.

Robot
A9
9
K1075
K109754
Robot
K10876
Q1052
AQ3
6
Robot
J54
J743
J2
Q832
Sterman
Q32
AK86
9864
AJ
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
4
P
P
P
D
18
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
9
10
J
K
3
1
0
6
5
Q
4
1
2
0
6
4
Q
A
0
2
1
9
K
5
2
1
3
1
7
J
3
7
2
3
2
8
A
9
6
3
4
2
J
10
2
2
1
5
2
5
3
8
7
3
6
2
A
10
3
7
3
7
2
4
5
A
2
1
8
2
10
3
6
4
1
9
2
8
J
8
K
1
10
2
Q
Q
9
K
0
10
3
N/S +620
13

An "Improved Standard" 1NT opening quickly led to 4H.  I covered the Nine of hearts lead with the Ten to protect against 4-1 hearts.  Well, lo and behold.  I decided to attack spades before drawing trumps, and promptly misguessed the spade layout.  I was still able to set up my spades, ruff a club loser, and draw trump.  I now had to decide whether to risk going down several tricks to make an overtrick by taking a diamond finesse.  Coward that I am, I decided against it, and ended up with only ten tricks.  That was still worth 76%.  Lots of people stopped below game and lots of people went down.  If I'd gone all-out and taken the diamond finesse, that would have been 98%.

Robot
A543
94
9
QJ8743
Robot
KJ98
Q87
K63
A95
Robot
106
A652
QJ852
102
Sterman
Q72
KJ103
A1074
K6
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
19
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
7
9
10
6
2
0
1
2
K
3
5
3
1
1
3
9
Q
A
2
1
2
5
K
4
7
3
2
2
2
3
K
6
1
3
2
8
10
Q
A
0
3
3
9
3
J
A
3
4
3
10 tricks claimed
N/S +430
7

What would have been a "Standard" NT opener during the last Online Nationals didn't quite meet up with the "Improved Standard" NT requirements, so I opened a simple 1D.  Again, though, I got to the same 3NT contract I would have if I'd opened a "Standard" 1NT.

The robot led a club and I ducked the first round, just in case the clubs were breaking 6-2.  Lo and behold (again); when I knocked out the Ace of hearts, East did not have another club to lead.  I was able to knock out the Ace of spades safely, and when the Ten of spades fell doubleton I had ten tricks for 430 and 62%, once again a multi-way tie for top, with a couple of people making only nine tricks and a couple of people languishing in 4-3 major suit fits.

Robot
93
K653
QJ9854
Q
Robot
Q108654
8
6
109652
Robot
7
J1074
AK73
AK43
Sterman
AKJ2
AQ92
102
J87
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
X
1
1
3
4
X
P
P
P
D
20
4X North
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
7
Q
2
2
0
1
K
2
9
6
2
0
2
A
J
6
5
2
0
3
3
8
3
6
0
0
4
Q
10
3
10
1
1
4
9 tricks claimed
N/S -200
5

I made a takeout double of East's 1D opener.  When my robot partner freely bid 1S, I decided to apply pressure to the robots by bidding 4S, hoping for a 5H bid by one of them.  Nope; they doubled instead. 

The robots took the first four tricks and I had the rest for -200.  This was another multi-way tie for top, but with fewer people this time, and I got 75%.  Those who sold out to 4H found themselves unable to set than contract and gave up -620.

Robot
K9
982
85432
QJ10
Robot
QJ5
106
AK10976
93
Robot
107643
A743
J
K62
Sterman
A82
KQJ5
Q
A8754
W
N
E
S
2
P
2NT
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
21
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
3
6
A
3
1
0
Q
2
6
J
3
2
0
5
2
10
A
2
2
1
K
4
J
9
2
2
2
2
8
10
7
0
2
3
9
6
7
K
3
3
3
Q
8
9
4
3
4
3
J
8
10
3
3
5
3
7
3
K
3
3
6
3
5
5
5
10
3
7
3
2
K
J
7
0
7
4
9
Q
6
8
1
8
4
A
4
A
4
1
9
4
N/S +600
13

The robot opened 2D.  I decided to see how much it liked its hand with a 2NT enquiry, and was encouraged by the 3S response to bid 3NT.

I got a club lead, which I won immediately.  I had three options as I saw it:  Overtaking the Queen of diamonds, hoping for someone to hold Jx doubleton of diamonds, or cashing the Queen of diamonds and leading low towards the Ten of hearts, hoping that West has the Ace and ducks, or cashing the Queen of diamonds and leading low towards the QJ of spades, building a sure entry.

I didn't like leading towards the QJ of spades because the robots might then have three clubs, a spade, and a heart to cash, so I decided to cash the Queen of diamonds and lead low toward the Ten of hearts.  That worked in an unexpected fashion; the Ten lost to the Ace, but the robots cashed two clubs, nicely setting up two clubs in my hand.  On a heart return I simply cashed the winners in my hand, discarding all of dummy's diamonds but one, and could now safely lead towards the QJ of spades, setting up an entry.  Nine tricks, and surprisingly only two of them were diamonds.  +600 was again the most common result.

There's only one way to get the robots to give you ten tricks.  You must duck the first two clubs, win the third, unblock the Queen of diamonds, then lead the King of hearts.  The robots will win this, allowing you an entry in the Ten of hearts.  Two people found this line and got 98%.

Robot
J984
K932
A95
43
Robot
53
AJ5
J7
QJ10875
Robot
107
Q10
KQ10643
K92
Sterman
AKQ62
8764
82
A6
W
N
E
S
2
2
3
P
P
X
P
P
P
D
22
3X East
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
4
5
10
3
1
0
K
J
3
7
3
2
0
4
K
A
10
1
3
0
Q
K
A
3
3
4
0
6
4
10
2
1
5
0
J
3
2
A
0
5
1
9
8
4
2
2
5
2
9
8
9
J
0
5
3
3
5
Q
6
2
5
4
Q
6
5
7
2
5
5
K
Q
2
7
2
5
6
10
7
8
5
2
5
7
6
8
9
J
2
5
8
E/W -200
13

I overcalled 2D with 2S, then reopened over West's 3D raise.  For the second time this session my robot partner converted my takeout double to penalty.  I cashed two spades and shifted to a heart; my robot partner flew the Ace and returned the Queen of clubs.  We thus secured the first five tricks for +200 and 98%, a two-way tie for top.

Those who chose to make a second suit bid rather than reopen with a double got to the four level in hearts, spades, and clubs.  None of these worked out particularly well, going down two or three tricks.

Robot
Q8
AKQ9763
852
9
Robot
AKJ6
J2
73
QJ753
Robot
10543
1084
KQ6
864
Sterman
972
5
AJ1094
AK102
W
N
E
S
1
3
X
P
4
P
P
P
D
23
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
2
4
5
0
0
1
A
J
8
2
3
1
1
A
9
3
4
3
2
1
K
3
5
6
3
3
1
10
2
Q
8
1
4
1
3
Q
A
5
3
5
1
J
8
7
K
2
5
2
3
9
Q
A
1
6
2
K
4
2
8
1
7
2
J
10
4
Q
1
8
2
7
6
9
9
1
9
2
J
5
7
7
1
10
2
6
10
10
6
2
10
3
N/S +130
13

I opened with 1D, then bid 4C over partner's negative double.  The robot decided not to bid 5C based, I guess, on its four red-suit losers.  Which was just as well because I butchered the hand, setting up a diamond trick in my hand without a way to reach it.  I either needed to draw fewer trumps or duck East's Queen of diamonds.  I held myself to ten tricks, and got a well-deserved 28%. 

Making +150 would have been worth 56% at least, and leaping to 5C and making it would have been worth 96%.  Those who played in their 4-3 spade fit managed ten tricks pretty easily for good matchpoint results.  I don't agree with either of those actions, but they paid off handsomely on this hand.

Robot
7
109
Q653
AK7653
Robot
Q984
AJ86
J87
102
Robot
AJ10653
4
K92
984
Sterman
K2
KQ7532
A104
QJ
W
N
E
S
P
P
2
3
P
P
P
D
24
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
2
4
J
0
0
1
A
10
9
Q
0
0
2
7
4
A
K
2
0
3
9
4
Q
7
0
0
4
6
8
K
A
3
1
4
2
10
A
4
1
2
4
J
3
3
9
1
3
4
8
6
5
7
1
4
4
6
5
K
6
3
5
4
Q
5
J
2
3
6
4
7
5
8
8
3
7
4
10
3
9
J
3
8
4
2
3
Q
10
1
9
4
N/S +140
13

The robot opened 2S and I overcalled 3H, passed out.

The robot started with the top two clubs then shifted to the Seven of spades.  I knew that was a stiff, so when the robot played the Ace of spades I dropped the King.  That fooled the robot; it shifted to the Nine of diamonds.

Here I went into a long tank.  I can win the Ace, draw trumps, and lose two more diamonds for down one.  However, if I duck the diamond, West will be endplayed into giving me a ninth trick - unless East started with a singleton diamond.  It would be quite embarrassing if I ducked and West won, gave its partner a diamond ruff, and then received a belated spade ruff for down two.

Eventually I decided that if East was going to have a stiff anywhere, it would be in hearts.  I girded myself and clicked the Nine of diamonds.  West won and returned a diamond.  When East followed suit, I heaved a sigh of relief.  Making nine tricks was another two-way tie for top with the only other person who dropped the King of spades under the Ace.

I ended up with 58.94%, good enough for 283rd overall.

This was an unlucky session for me in many respects.  I had more hands with completely flat results in this one session than I did in the entire four days of the last Online Nationals.  Not much you can do when the cards and play lead to the same result throughout the virtual room.  I also took completely normal actions that worked out really badly.

I really don't have a problem with most of the bids and plays I made; I'd do it again each time.  And believe me, I pored over these results.  I did clearly misplay one hand, misdefended a second, and probably misbid a third.  I just had way too many hands where everyone was doing the exact same thing and getting the exact same result.

C'est la vie.  Let's hope for better luck tomorrow.

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