Join Bridge Winners
My ACBL NABC Online Individual Journey - Day 3
(Page of 25)

Robot
109
986
QJ875
AK9
Robot
J876
AQ54
1064
J5
Robot
AK543
KJ7
92
763
Sterman
Q2
1032
AK3
Q10842
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
X
1NT
P
P
P
D
1
1NT East
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
9
J
6
1
1
0
J
A
2
9
2
1
1
2
K
5
6
3
2
1
2
A
5
7
0
2
2
10
6
4
Q
3
3
2
8
K
4
3
0
3
3
Q
10
9
A
3
4
3
Q
6
5
5
3
5
3
10
J
4
3
3
6
3
2
9
A
7
1
7
3
8
K
3
7
2
7
4
K
3
8
Q
2
7
5
J
10
8
7
2
7
6
E/W -50
13

This final diary is the journal of a man's slow descent into madness and depravity.  I went in hoping for good things, wanting to push the envelope as hard as possible to get all the available matchpoints.  The thing about pushing the edge of the envelope:  that is where the postage gets cancelled.

I opened 1C and then found I had nothing to say over the 1NT bid.  I started with a low club, relieved that my partner showed up with the Jack.  North annoyed me by switching to a spade rather than continuing clubs.  East won and led a diamond.  I won and continued clubs.  The robot declarer then led the Ten of spades, ducked to my Queen.  I cleared the clubs.  The robot tried another diamond, and I won and cashed my clubs, squeezing partner in the process.  No matter; its Ace of hearts was the setting trick.  +50 and a surprising 92%, a great start.

Quite a few humans allowed 1NT to make, either failing to lead or continue clubs every time they were in.  Those who passed it out got 58%.

Robot
104
KQ97
KQ3
J1063
Robot
Q5
J1053
AJ64
K82
Robot
83
82
109752
Q974
Sterman
AKJ9762
A64
8
A5
W
N
E
S
 
P
1
P
1N
P
4
P
4N
P
5
P
5N
P
6
P
P
P
D
2
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
3
2
A
3
1
0
12 tricks claimed
N/S +1430
1

My hand wasn't good enough for a strong 2C, but it was good enough for a leap to 4S over partner's forcing 1NT.  For once the robot showed some initiative and keycarded us to slam.

The slam is cold on any lead - the KQ of diamonds can be ruffed out, or you can squeeze West in the red suits - but the actual King of hearts lead made this a trick one claimer.  A multi-way tie for top at 66%.  The matchpointers who played 6NT did not find the red-suit squeeze and went down.

Robot
Q53
J8743
K8
K65
Robot
K1084
9
A10953
983
Robot
7
1062
Q7642
AJ104
Sterman
AJ962
AKQ5
J
Q72
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
4
P
P
P
D
3
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
9
2
5
1
1
0
A
2
J
8
1
2
0
3
6
2
K
3
3
0
6
3
K
7
1
4
0
4
6
A
5
3
5
0
A
8
3
10
3
6
0
K
J
8
7
3
7
0
Q
7
9
4
3
8
0
2
6
8
J
1
9
0
10
4
7
5
1
10
0
5
Q
9
3
3
11
0
Q
K
10
A
1
12
0
9
10
J
Q
0
12
1
N/S +480
13

Over the robot's simple 2S raise I couldn't envision slam and simply bid 4S.  I paused for thought on the opening lead, wondering how to play it, then when I played the Nine and it held, paused again.  I can pitch three clubs of course, but I can't ruff three clubs in dummy.  While I have eleven or twelve tricks all but assured depending on how the trumps split, I still do have a chance at yet another trick, but only if I start attacking diamonds now.

I played the Ace of diamonds and ruffed a diamond, pleased to see the King of diamonds fall.  The robot usually is predictable in these situations; if it had started with KQx of diamonds, it would have played the Queen on this trick.  I played two rounds of trump ending in my hand, disovering that I had a spade loser.  I then ran hearts to pitch all of dummy's clubs, and ruffed a club.

I led the Ten of diamonds.  East played low "smoothly", but after a brief thought I went with my earlier read and pitched a club.  West obligingly showed out, and now I could complete the crossruff, allowed West to take its high spade whenever.  +480 was a complete top, 100%.

Looking at the traveller reveals more robot randomness:  Everyone reached 4S.  The robot always led a low heart.  If the auction goes 1S - 2S - 4S, East will not cover the Nine of hearts.  If the auction goes 1S - 2S - 3S - 4S or 1S - 2S - 3H - 4S, East will cover the Nine of hearts with the Ten.  I cannot explain why it's not automatic to cover the Nine of hearts.

Even without looking at a traveller, I knew twelve tricks was a great result.  I was starting to feel good about this session.

Robot
5
Q8
7543
QJ6432
Robot
1093
AJ1043
2
A1085
Robot
KJ64
7652
109
K97
Sterman
AQ872
K9
AKQJ86
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
6
P
P
P
D
4
6 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
10
A
7
2
3
1
0
K
3
5
9
3
2
0
Q
5
3
7
3
3
0
J
4
8
7
3
4
0
8
6
10
2
3
5
0
K
8
3
6
3
6
0
9
Q
A
5
1
7
0
13 tricks claimed
N/S +1390
7

I wasn't sure how to bid this hand.  I could see both 1D and 1S bids being passed out, so I started with 2C.  The robot showed heart values, which made my Kx of hearts golden.  I decided to just leap to 6D.

North was declarer because of the 2D response to 2C, and East led a trump.  I drew trump, unsure how to play this hand.  On the fourth trump East pitched a heart.  I played a fifth trump to see what would happen, and East pitched another heart.  I decided it was unlikely the robot had started with Qxxxx of hearts or had reduced itself to Qx, so I played King of hearts, heart, intending to finesse.  The Queen popped and I could claim, pitching four spades.

Alas, this was worth only 32%.  I was the only person in 6D.  Everyone else played in spades, and the friendly spade position meant they were racking up twelve tricks.  I even lost matchpoints to the person who bid 7S, an insanely lucky contract.  This result makes me fume a little; my 6D contract was by far the safest and needed far less luck than 6S or 6H, but luck was with them and against me this time.

At the time I thought I had made a terrific bid and was going to collect a bundle of matchpoints.  Psychologically, I was feeling fantastic.

Robot
108
AQ9
9753
K1084
Robot
QJ
J10742
KJ6
975
Robot
K743
853
Q102
J63
Sterman
A9652
K6
A84
AQ2
W
N
E
S
 
P
P
1
P
1N
P
2N
P
3
P
3
P
3N
P
P
P
D
5
3NT North
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
6
Q
2
0
0
1
3
6
10
A
3
1
1
K
A
4
8
0
1
2
7
J
Q
4
2
1
3
2
8
9
K
1
2
3
J
5
2
9
1
3
3
10
4
2
8
1
4
3
7
3
5
4
1
5
3
Q
K
A
10
3
6
3
6
8
J
7
1
7
3
5
6
Q
K
0
7
4
5
7
3
9
0
7
5
10
9
J
A
3
8
5
N/S -100
13

Here begins my downfall.

I judged my hand too strong for 1NT, and 1S is a better bid anyway.  The robot bid a forcing 1NT and I bid 2NT to describe my hand.  The robot transferred me to 3H and then bid 3NT, which I passed.

East led a low heart.  Robots hate underleading honors, so I knew the AQ of hearts were with West.  I played low, and West won the Queen to lead a low diamond.  Using similar logic, I played the Queen with East and played low, the Eight forcing my Ace.  I cleared hearts, and West continued diamonds.  I had nothing to lose by trying the Jack, but it lost as expected and another diamond came back to my King.

I wasn't sure what to do.  Unwilling to commit myself to a black suit yet, I cashed two hearts, pitching first a low club then a low spade.  East pitched a spade, West a club. On the fifth heart, East pitched a club and I had to make a choice.  If I pitch a club, then later took a spade finesse that lost, a club return could lock me out of my spade winners with the spades blocked.  After some thought, I decided to preserve the AQ of clubs and pitched a spade.  West pitched another club.

I led the Queen of spades, covered by the King and my Ace, West playing the Ten.  My Nine was now high.  I crossed back to the Jack of spades.

I now led a club, East playing low.  A matchpoint dilemma; finesse and risk going down if West had the King of clubs and the last diamond?  Or go up, winning making my contract but possible leaving some matchpoints on the table with the King of clubs onside?

I thought this decision over for a good fifteen minutes.  I tried counting out the hand, but really either defender could have the King of clubs.  I also remembered the robot had led from xxx of hearts into a known heart suit; it must have not wanted to lead away from honors in any of its other suits.  So the question is, did East start with Kxx or Jxx of clubs?

I thought and thought.  Finally, I decided if I was going to compete in a massive field, I need to grab what matchpoints I could.  I'd feel worse if I spurned the finesse and it was working than if I took it and failed.  Besides, West might not have the thirteenth diamond.

I played the Queen of clubs and closed my eyes, when I opened them, the dreaded Five of diamonds was staring me in the face.  My heart sunk into my stomach.  I had turned +600 into -100.  I got 26% of the matchpoints.

The sad thing - the *really* sad thing - is that +600 would have been a 94% board.  I risked 68% of the available matchpoints to gain 6%.

Should I have known that 600 was going to be a top?  Probably.  I forgot I had evaluated the hand upwards from a 1NT opener.  Indeed, the traveller shows that most humans opened 1NT, got transferred to 2H and dropped there.  I just thought the field would have no problems getting to 3NT with 17 opposite 8.  I was very wrong.

This result depressed me enormously.  I consoled myself with the thought that I would have felt worse if the King of clubs had been onside and I hadn't finessed (I didn't yet know that I'd already had a top when I set up my ninth trick).  I spent a couple of minutes pulling myself together and moved on.

Robot
9865
963
KQJ86
10
Robot
Q4
K854
73
Q8652
Robot
J73
Q1072
A95
KJ9
Sterman
AK102
AJ
1042
A743
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
P
P
D
6
1NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
3
9
2
0
0
1
6
4
J
A
3
1
1
A
10
2
J
3
2
1
3
3
5
9
2
2
2
A
4
8
7
2
2
3
K
4
5
6
2
2
4
5
10
J
4
0
2
5
Q
5
10
2
0
2
6
6
8
2
7
0
2
7
8
Q
7
10
1
3
7
6 tricks claimed
N/S -50
10

By-the-book 1NT opening passed out.  The robot led a high diamond, then shifted to a spade, which turned out not to cost it anything.

I can of course cash out for making 1NT.  But I thought I'd try to make overtricks by playing clubs.  If the diamonds were 5-3 and the clubs 2-2 or 3-1, I'd break even, and if the diamonds were 4-4, I'd make my overtricks.  if they broke 0-4, I'd be warned to cash out.  The *only* risk was 1-3 clubs with no singleton King.

Well, lo and flippin' behold.  When West showed out there was nothing more I could do.  Grimly I watched the robots cash out for down one.   Flippin' 5-3 diamonds and 1-3 clubs.  Gah.

I had lost of company with my 30%.  Those who timidly cashed out got 80%.

I still believe right decision, wrong time.  But gah... I had just gone down in cold contracts playing for overtricks on two consecutive boards.

Robot
J5
A1073
AK5
Q1053
Robot
K743
42
9742
J97
Robot
Q106
QJ965
Q103
64
Sterman
A982
K8
J86
AK82
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
P
P
D
7
1NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
7
6
2
1
1
0
J
4
8
Q
0
1
1
K
2
3
6
0
1
2
10
9
5
K
3
2
2
A
5
2
6
3
3
2
2
5
K
6
1
4
2
3
10
A
J
3
5
2
8
10
4
Q
2
5
3
Q
K
A
4
0
5
4
A
4
10
8
0
5
5
5
7
Q
J
2
5
6
J
8
7
7
2
5
7
9
9
3
9
2
5
8
N/S -200
13

Another textbook 1NT opener passed out.  The three of clubs was led, and the Seven held.  The robot *hates* underleading honors, so I *knew* the Queen-Ten of clubs were with West.  Confidently I led the Jack of clubs, and was greatly surprised it lost to the Queen.

The robot played one high diamond, then went back to clubs.  I cashed my remaining high club.  I tried attacking spades in a way that left West on lead, but there was no such position, and in the end I could only take three clubs and two spades for -200.

I had lots and lots of company, and -200 was surprisingly 50%.  Lots of people made 1NT, though, by immediately attacking spades.  For some reason the East robot flew the Queen of spades when a low spade was led from the board.  The human won, then played another spade, ducking West's Jack.  The robots could have still prevailed by playing AK and a third diamond to East for a heart through, but instead they cashed one high diamond and then underled their Ace of hearts to declarer's King.

The effect of these past three boards was to send my emotions crashing further and further into the basement.  This was not what I had been hoping for.

Robot
Q73
A32
J986
K104
Robot
109
KQ10986
3
AJ65
Robot
J654
J5
A5
Q9832
Sterman
AK82
74
KQ10742
7
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
8
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
5
8
7
2
0
1
2
2
K
A
1
1
1
3
5
K
9
3
2
1
4
2
K
5
1
3
1
10
6
A
3
3
4
1
7
A
6
J
0
4
2
10
6
9
4
0
4
3
6
8
A
7
2
4
4
Q
2
3
J
2
4
5
3
8
7
9
2
4
6
5
K
Q
9
3
5
6
Q
8
10
J
3
6
6
10
J
Q
4
0
6
7
N/S -150
13

The robot North opened its ten-point hand with 1H.  We had a more-or-less natural auction after that, but I think the robot should pull 3NT to 4H.  I dunno, maybe I should prefer the 6-2 heart fit.  But this was matchpoints, and I had no real compulsion to bid anything other than 3NT.

The contract was hopeless from the get-go, but I made it worse but not reading the club suit correctly, not imagining West would lead the Four from KT4 of clubs against a notrump contract; I'd never seen it do that before.

I tried setting up dummy's hearts and hoping the robots would let me reach them by setting up the Jack of clubs and leading to it.  Nope, the robots avoided that, and I drifted down three.  Once I was never placing West with KTx of clubs my read of the whole hand was hopelessly skewed.

I scored 22.9%.  Most people played 3NT going down various numbers of tricks, but those humans who judged to play the 6-2 heart fit were rewarded with +620 and 87.5%.

Robot
J63
J4
J985
Q1063
Robot
Q10
A973
42
K9754
Robot
K84
Q10652
Q10
AJ2
Sterman
A9752
K8
AK763
8
W
N
E
S
P
1
1
P
1NT
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
9
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
A
6
8
1
1
0
Q
K
A
3
3
2
0
2
J
10
4
0
2
1
4
7
5
K
3
3
1
9
6
4
8
3
4
1
A
9
2
10
3
5
1
K
5
4
Q
3
6
1
7
J
5
2
0
6
2
8
7
2
3
0
6
3
6
K
A
8
2
6
4
Q
5
3
3
3
7
4
9 tricks claimed
N/S -50
11

Over the robot's 1H opener, I bid 1S, then made an aggressive 3D rebid over the North's 1NT.  This prompted North to jump to 4S.

I got a heart lead.  The cards, I knew, were positioned wrong to attempt a crossruff.  I decided the best and really only chance was 3-3 spades and 3-3 diamonds.  I won the Ace of hearts in dummy and led the Queen of spades, covered with the King and won with my Ace.  I led another spade, and West won the Jack and led another heart, my King winning.

I played the Nine of spades, to find that Operation 3-3 Spades had gone according to plan.  Operation 3-3 Diamonds, however, didn't do as well.  I had to concede down one.  This was worth 40%.  My fault for bidding too high with such bad spots in my long suits.

Once again, those Souths that went low, only bidding 2D and passing partner's correcting to 2S, scored very well.

Robot
Q5
K93
AQ93
8654
Robot
10873
Q108
J104
AK7
Robot
J96
J642
872
1092
Sterman
AK42
A75
K65
QJ3
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
4
P
P
P
D
10
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
A
2
3
1
1
0
3
6
A
5
3
2
0
2
Q
7
9
0
2
1
8
7
10
Q
3
3
1
K
9
8
J
3
4
1
A
3
8
4
3
5
1
5
K
10
6
0
5
2
5
K
9
J
1
6
2
Q
2
7
9
1
7
2
J
2
5
Q
0
7
3
A
4
8
6
0
7
4
3
10
7
K
3
8
4
4
6
10
J
1
9
4
N/S -100
13

I'd had five negative scores in a row and my mind was slipping from depression to outright despair.  I had another textbook 1NT, and a standard auction got me to a hopeless 4S.  I at least got the hearts right, assisted by the robot defenders, but I couldn't avoid a spade, a heart, and two diamonds.  Down one was 52.1%; an almost completely flat result except for the one person who went down two.

I knew this was going to be a flat result - I couldn't imagine any other bidding or play outcome - but this sixth consecutive negative score was further sending my mind spiraling.

Robot
K6
J42
Q543
K765
Robot
Q8
A653
J76
AJ98
Robot
J743
K10987
K98
2
Sterman
A10952
Q
A102
Q1043
W
N
E
S
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
11
3NT North
NS: 0 EW: 0
10
Q
2
3
3
1
0
Q
7
9
2
3
2
0
10
6
8
9
3
3
0
3
5
J
4
1
4
0
A
8
4
K
1
5
0
Q
7
2
K
0
5
1
J
5
7
2
0
5
2
5
6
8
10
3
6
2
A
6
8
3
3
7
2
10
3
7
J
2
7
3
K
5
4
A
1
8
3
10 tricks claimed
N/S +430
11

I didn't have much of a reason to raise 2NT to 3NT, even with my three Tens, but I needed something good to start happening.   I got a heart lead and grimaced; with my sole heart stopper knocked out, I was going down at least one.  To my amazement, the Queen of hearts held.  The robot had underled an honor?  I thought that was unpossible.

I took the club finesse, grateful that it succeeded.  East pitched two hearts and a spade.  I decided to play for split spade honors and led the Queen of spades, losing to the King.  The robot led the Jack of hearts, which I decided to duck since no matter what I had at least one more loser.  West then shifted to a small diamond, on which East played the Eight.  I blinked and won the Ten.  It was easy now to knocked out the Jack of spades and make ten tricks.

I'd finally broken my negative streak, and in a good fashion:  +630 was 100%.  I was one of only three people to bid 3NT, and I was the only one to make it.  

Robot
10854
A1093
Q8753
Robot
7
KJ10986
K742
K4
Robot
AQJ96
Q5
J85
J92
Sterman
K32
A7432
Q6
A106
W
N
E
S
P
1
1
2
X
4
P
P
P
D
12
4 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
2
4
7
2
0
1
9
10
Q
K
1
1
1
11 tricks claimed
N/S +650
2

The most boring hand.  I made a limit raise or better, then respected the robot's decision to sign off in 4H.  East led the Ace of spades and shifted to a club.  I won and claimed eleven tricks, conceding the Ace of diamonds.  58.3%, yet another multi-way tie for top with the vast majority of the field.

Robot
10754
10976
Q94
82
Robot
AKQ5
10875
KQ1043
Robot
AQ983
832
J
9765
Sterman
KJ62
J4
AK632
AJ
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
3
P
4NT
P
6
P
7
P
P
P
D
13
7 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
5
9
2
1
1
0
7
J
A
9
3
2
0
4
6
Q
2
1
3
0
10
7
K
4
3
4
0
12 tricks claimed
N/S -100
4

Just when I had started to feel better, my hopes came crashing straight back down to the ground.  I bid a simple 1D over partner's 1C, and was surprised when the robot jump-raised to 3D.  Slam looked good, so I bid 4NT.  It showed me one keycard and a void.  God, please let it be hearts.  With the AJ of the robot's first suit and AKxxx of diamonds, I felt good about my chances in 7D, so I bid it.

Dummy was a crushing disappointment.  Dangit all to heck; if the Queen of hearts had been the Queen of diamonds this would be practically laydown.  I had to hope for 2-2 diamonds.  I played a diamond, East played the Jack, I won as West played the Nine.  I perked up at that; did East really split with QJx of diamonds?  Did I now have a ruffing position?  Emboldened, I crossed back to dummy and led the Ten of diamonds.  East showed out.  The robot West had been trolling me by dropping the Nine of diamonds.

It West had been a human I would have had very strong words about sportsmanship.  I fumed for a full minute, then conceded down one.

For pushing so hard, I scored a whopping 4.2%, my worst result of the three-day individual.  6D would have been 80%.  So I was risking 76% of the matchpoints to gain 20%.

So much for the stunning comeback.

Robot
107
A1097432
AJ94
Robot
54
J5
Q6
QJ109875
Robot
AKQ96
Q86
852
42
Sterman
J832
K
K1073
AK63
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
2
2NT
3
P
4
P
4
P
P
P
D
14
4 West
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
2
6
4
0
0
1
7
5
A
2
2
0
2
Q
K
A
5
0
0
3
10
4
K
3
2
0
4
Q
8
4
J
1
1
4
J
4
3
2
0
1
5
A
6
2
3
0
1
6
3
5
6
7
2
1
7
9
J
9
9
0
1
8
7
10
8
10
2
1
9
6
K
J
8
2
1
10
8
K
9
Q
3
2
10
A
10
7
5
0
2
11
E/W +450
13

My bidding standards had seriously degraded by this point; I opened 1NT.  The robots brushed this aside and bid 4H.  The robot misguessed the trump suit and thus had to concede a trump and a diamond.  Still, -450 was only worth 54.2%, the most common result.  Some people tried doubling the cold 4H and were rescued by their robot partners pulling to 5C, down one or two for a great scores.

Robot
Q8765
K2
A87532
Robot
KJ
J1043
A109865
6
Robot
943
K9762
QJ43
Q
Sterman
A102
AQ85
7
KJ1094
W
N
E
S
1NT
2
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
15
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
6
J
3
2
1
1
0
J
2
5
8
1
2
0
10
K
A
8
3
3
0
K
A
6
Q
0
3
1
7
5
9
9
3
4
1
10
7
K
4
1
5
1
3
6
8
Q
3
6
1
Q
2
4
9
3
7
1
A
5
6
4
3
8
1
J
2
8
7
3
9
1
10
3
9
3
3
10
1
7
K
A
Q
1
11
1
10
J
4
5
2
11
2
N/S +660
13

I opened a "Old Standard" 1NT and had to bid 3NT over partner's 3D.  I cursed at the missed 4-4 heart figt.  When I led the Jack of hearts and West showed out, I perked back up again. I continued with the Ten of hearts, covered and won with the Ace.

I still needed tricks, so decided to attack clubs.  I led the King of clubs from my hand, and gaped when this ended up smothering the Queen.  I had lots of tricks now.  I gave the robots a chance to misdefend but they didn't from this point out, and I ended up with eleven tricks for +660 and 97.9% of the matchpoints.

As one might imagine, there were a lot of heart contracts.  Most declarers, though, had no problems overcoming the bad heart break because of the friendly lie of the rest of the cards, and some even made eleven tricks.  Still not enough to beat my +660, though.

Robot
Q953
72
K1073
1076
Robot
8
K1054
QJ842
Q82
Robot
KJ106
Q8
96
J9543
Sterman
A742
AJ963
A5
AK
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
2NT
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
16
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
7
4
Q
A
3
1
0
A
5
8
6
3
2
0
2
9
5
J
1
3
0
2
J
K
6
3
4
0
4
3
10
10
1
5
0
8
5
A
7
3
6
0
7
Q
K
K
1
7
0
Q
9
5
10
1
8
0
2
9
A
10
3
9
0
13 tricks claimed
N/S +510
9

I opened 2NT and was quickly put in 4H.  The dummy was a grim sight; if I'd opened 1H, chances are we'd be in 6H.  Still, I salvaged something by ruffing three spades in the dummy and pitching my diamond loser on the Queen of clubs.  I took all thirteen tricks for +510 and 52.1%.

Plenty of slam bidder, and two adopted a similar line to mine and emerged with +1010 and a tie for tip.

Robot
J10987
103
AK8
864
Robot
K9765
96543
AQ7
Robot
Q65
Q842
QJ2
KJ2
Sterman
AK432
AJ
107
10953
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
17
4 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
7
8
3
2
0
1
2
J
3
5
3
1
1
A
J
7
5
3
2
1
K
10
Q
Q
3
3
1
A
10
6
4
3
4
1
10
A
4
2
0
4
2
7
7
6
2
1
5
2
K
8
3
4
1
6
2
5
J
5
K
0
6
3
8
9
Q
3
2
6
4
K
9
8
A
1
7
4
9 tricks claimed
N/S -50
11

I honestly wasn't sure what to do over my robot's partner passed-hand 2H bid over my 1S opener.  I considered passing, but decided to make at least one try for game.  The robot accepted, a decision I don't agree with because of its bad heart spots and void in my suit.

A diamond was led.  When the robot shifted to a heart I put in the Jack which held.  There didn't seem to be much point in discarding diamonds on the AK of spades; I still had three diamond losers no matter what.  No, my best bet was to discard two clubs and hope for 3-3 hearts and 3-3 diamonds.  As it was the last time I was in this situation, one of the suits split but the other did not.  I ended up down one, -50.  This was 67.4%; how was that possible?

Turns out I was one of only three declarers to make nine tricks.  There were plenty of people who passed 2H and still went down one.  If only I'd passed 2H; I'd be sharing a tie for top with one other person.

Robot
Q985
K854
643
AJ
Robot
4
A7632
872
KQ42
Robot
J76
Q10
KQ105
8653
Sterman
AK1032
J9
AJ9
1097
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
P
P
D
18
2 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
A
3
2
3
1
0
7
A
2
8
0
1
1
J
K
3
9
1
2
1
2
Q
9
4
2
2
2
5
10
5
4
0
2
3
6
7
Q
9
2
2
4
6
J
4
Q
3
3
4
A
9
4
6
3
4
4
K
8
3
7
1
5
4
A
10
2
K
1
6
4
6
5
3
8
0
6
5
5
7
J
10
1
7
5
8
10
J
Q
3
8
5
N/S +110
13

This time I knew to pass my partner's 2H bid.  I got the King of diamonds lead, which told me I only had one diamond to lose.  I wanted to start hearts by leading low towards the J9, so I led a club at trick two.  West won the Ace and returned the Jack, which told me it had started with a doubleton.  Indeed, when I led a low heart, East flew the Queen and gave its partner a club ruff.  On a diamond to the Queen, East returned another club, which I ruffed with the Jack as West refused to overruff.

I played the Ace of spades followed by the King of spades which I ruffed.  The remaining hearts were 2-1 so I ended up making eight tricks exactly, for +110 and 60.4%.

2H was the most popular contract, with some going down.  Those humans who passed the 1NT bid found very friendly club and diamond positions and scored up +120 or +180 for top scores.

Robot
965
J8743
742
A3
Robot
Q87
2
10963
Q8642
Robot
103
AQ106
A85
KJ107
Sterman
AKJ42
K95
KQJ
95
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
1N
X
XX
2
2
P
P
3
3
P
P
P
D
19
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
2
J
5
0
0
1
3
4
10
9
2
0
2
A
Q
2
3
2
0
3
7
J
4
6
3
1
3
A
6
7
3
3
2
3
K
9
8
10
3
3
3
K
7
6
8
3
4
3
J
5
9
5
0
4
4
3
2
A
5
2
4
5
6
9
8
8
3
5
5
8 tricks claimed
N/S -50
10

Another hand I judged too strong for a 1NT opening, so I bid 1S.  East doubled partner forcing 1NT and I redoubled to show my extras.  West competed to 2H and then 3H, my robot partner outbidding it each time.

West led Ace-and-another club.  East won the Ten, cashed the Ace of diamonds, then led a low diamond.  I ruffed high and drew two rounds of trump, then cashed two more diamonds hoping somehow they would stand up so I could draw the last trump in dummy and cash the Ten of diamonds.  Nope; West had pitched a diamond already and ruffed the third round.  East still had the Ace of hearts to come, so I was down one.  I wasn't certain how good this would be because I wasn't certain if 3H was making or not.

It ended up being worth 56.2%.  Nearly everyone was in 3S.  I did well to go down only one.  Two people made 3S by passing the double of 1NT, then competing freely to 3S themselves.  On that auction West didn't lead a club, giving South plenty of time to set up the King of hearts and ruff a heart in the dummy.  Again, passive pays off.

Robot
1097
985
J1083
AKQ
Robot
Q854
AQ103
754
93
Robot
AJ63
J6
A2
J10875
Sterman
K2
K742
KQ96
642
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1
P
2
P
P
P
D
20
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
3
5
2
0
0
1
J
4
A
6
2
0
2
2
K
3
5
3
1
2
2
5
A
6
1
2
2
3
J
K
9
3
3
2
2
10
Q
A
2
3
3
6
K
7
4
3
4
3
Q
8
7
7
3
5
3
9
10
10
8
1
6
3
9
J
4
A
0
6
4
Q
Q
10
6
1
7
4
5
3
4
9
3
8
4
7
8
8
J
0
8
5
N/S +110
13

In fourth seat I opened 1H on my four-bagger and quickly passed partner's raise.  The robot led one high club then shifted to the Jack of diamonds, which East won to play back a second diamond. I drew only two rounds of trump before leading a spade to the Queen and Ace.  East continued spades, which I won.  I putzed around for a while, but honestly I had eight tricks and no more. 

This was worth 84.8%; most of the field passed it out.

Robot
1097
3
1097
KQ9754
Robot
KJ
Q762
AJ5
10632
Robot
8643
AJ109
Q62
AJ
Sterman
AQ52
K854
K843
8
W
N
E
S
P
1
X
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
21
4 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
2
10
J
1
1
0
2
9
K
3
3
2
0
4
5
6
10
2
2
1
A
5
7
7
2
2
2
J
8
4
Q
1
3
2
K
4
5
9
1
4
2
5
2
K
7
3
5
2
A
9
2
8
3
6
2
Q
7
3
6
3
7
2
8
K
6
J
0
7
3
10
A
6
3
1
8
3
J
Q
4
9
2
8
4
A
8
Q
10
2
8
5
N/S -200
13

This is the one thing the computer does that I absolutely hate.  WHen I made a takeout double of 1D, it made an ambiguous 2D bid.  This tells me nothing about its hand and I often have to just guess.  This time I decided to bid 3D, passing the buck, and the robot jumped to 4H.

This is an easy hand to make as long as you don't do what I did:  lead a heart to the King and another heart.  The robot won the next two hearts and exited with a third, depriving all four hands of trump.  I was stuck now and couldn't get out for less than down two.  -200 was 8.3%.

I was unlucky that hearts broke like they did, of course, and making four hearts by playing exactly one round of hearts and then abandoning trumps only works when the hearts break exactly 1-4.  Still, if I'd put some thought into it, I should realize that when East shows up with four hearts, it must be precisely 4432.  It costs me nothing to play Ace of diamonds, Jack of diamonds.  If I'd done that, I would have smothered the T9 of diamonds after West injudiciously discarded a diamond.  I could actually *make* the hand with two hearts, four spades, and four diamonds.

I was just in a bad place mentally at this point.

Robot
K1097
J103
8742
J6
Robot
8
Q85
Q963
Q7543
Robot
QJ653
642
K105
AK
Sterman
A42
AK97
AJ
10982
W
N
E
S
1
X
P
2
P
P
2
P
P
3
P
P
P
D
22
3 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
2
6
3
2
0
1
Q
A
10
8
3
1
1
8
J
Q
K
2
1
2
3
2
K
4
1
2
2
3
5
J
4
3
3
2
A
8
6
10
3
4
2
4
9
5
5
1
5
2
9
K
9
7
3
6
2
11 tricks claimed
N/S +150
8

(The original form of this page had editing help from a five-month-old.  Fixed now.)

Now comes the unhinged portion of the event.  I doubled 1S rather than overcall 1NT.  Fortunately, partner bid 2C, which I was happy to pass.  West balanced back in with 2S, passed back to me.  Now that I knew partner was short in spades, I felt comfortable pushing to 3C, passed out.

Not much to the play; with clubs 2-2 and the King of diamonds onside, I had no problems making eleven tricks for +150.  This was worth a healthy 85.4%

Those who did overcall 1NT saw West raise to 2S, passed out.  The humans could set it one, but +100 couldn't beat the +150 available in clubs.

Robot
K95
98432
6
A643
Robot
AJ3
107
A732
8752
Robot
Q1086
6
KQJ108
QJ9
Sterman
742
AKQJ5
954
K10
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
23
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
10
6
5
1
1
0
7
8
A
9
3
2
0
K
8
2
8
3
3
0
Q
4
5
K
3
4
0
J
2
7
9
3
5
0
4
6
7
10
2
5
1
Q
K
A
8
0
5
2
5
3
10
2
2
5
3
6
4
K
A
1
6
3
A
Q
5
3
1
7
3
2
J
9
6
2
7
4
J
10
4
3
2
7
5
Q
7
9
J
2
7
6
N/S -200
13

Not all my wild shots work.  I opened a completely bonkers 1NT, raised to 3NT.  I had no play, and need the Ace of clubs onside to go down only one.  That didn't happen and I ended up down two.

43.8%!  Lots of people bid 4H and found that they, too, had only seven tricks for -300.  The people who opened 1H but then passed afterwards found themselves defending 2C, which they couldn't beat,  but -90 was 75% for them.

Robot
10
K986542
AJ86
7
Robot
KQ94
A3
Q53
10942
Robot
73
Q107
1092
KQJ85
Sterman
AJ8652
J
K74
A63
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
4
P
P
P
D
24
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
3
2
4
0
0
1
7
2
5
A
3
1
1
2
10
K
3
1
2
1
Q
7
5
2
1
3
1
A
7
J
9
1
4
1
3
Q
8
8
3
5
1
7
6
Q
10
1
6
1
5
9
K
J
3
7
1
3
4
9
J
2
7
2
K
6
6
4
2
7
3
8
6
5
10
3
8
3
10 tricks claimed
N/S +420
11

After three passes I opened 4S.  If you've been following my journals, you'll see a pattern of "I usually have good luck leaping to 4H/4S here", followed by tale of how it didn't actually work.  *This* time, however, I caught good cards in the dummy and I got a helpful lead.  On the club shift I won, drew trumps, eliminated the red suits, and exited with a club hoping for an endplay.  Nope; East cashed two clubs but I had the rest.  +420 was 87%, a good way to end the event.  Lots of people didn't bid game, and lots of people in game didn't get my same helpful defense.

After the dust had settled I ended up with a 57.13% game.  I have no idea how to feel about it.  If the King of clubs had been onside on board five, how would the rest of the boards felt?  Who's to say.

Overall I finished with a combined 60.02%, good enough for 126th overall out of 1,910 people who finished all three days.  Top 7% is all right, but a step down for the last Online Nationals when I finished in the top 2%.

Final thoughts on the next page.

Day One I couldn't make much headway because of the general flatness of the boards.  Day Two I did better, and had more good luck than bad with the randomness of the robots' play.  Day Three started strong and then went off the rails early as I desperately tried to gain back matchpoints I had lost.

I think the actual winner of the event will be someone who played consistently and also was on the winning side of most of the robot's capriciousness.  Either that or someone who took a lot of gambles and saw them pay off.  Neither of those described my play.

I'll be back for the next Online Nationals, and hopefully be on a more even keel.  I hope they go back to four days; that gives the randomness more of a chance to even out.

I do like that the robots have gotten stronger, and that it's harder to push them around.  There's still plenty to take advantage of, and I'll have to keep feeling them out if I want to do well next time.

One final note:  While waiting for the Day 3 results to post, I played one 12-board ACBL Individual tourney.  This was the result:

http://webutil.bridgebase.com/v2/tview.php?t=2577-1520481961&u=Sterman

I had one result below 50% -and it was very bad, 9.5%.  I had seven results at 90.4% or higher, and three complete tops of 100%. I ended up with a 79.76% game.  Why oh why couldn't I have had results like this playing the Nationally-rated event.  Tongue Out

See you all next time.

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