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My NABC Online Practice Tourney Day 1 - "The Wild Way"
(Page of 13)

I was glad to see that the NABC Online (now Robot) Tourney was returning. I was sad to see that it was three days instead of four. I was intrigued by the talk of "stronger robots". I do know that my own experience has shown that the robots are getting better at adapting to the wild tactics I usually use. I'm getting more zeroes than I used to. I was also interested to see that last year's winner won by playing "up the middle" and not doing anything unusal.

I decided to run a little experiment. I'd play the first day my usual "wild" way, then the second day in an "up the middle" fashion. We'll see which style works better, keeping in mind that twelve boards is not usually a good sample size.

Robot
1064
A983
K9
AJ109
Robot
A853
J76542
Q53
Robot
J7
K10
10864
K5432
Sterman
KQ92
Q
AJ72
Q876
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
4
P
4
P
P
P
D
1
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
2
10
Q
3
1
0
2
6
A
7
1
2
0
4
K
2
9
2
2
1
J
K
4
3
3
3
1
6
9
5
2
1
4
1
6
8
7
8
0
4
2
A
7
4
8
0
4
3
A
J
5
Q
1
5
3
3
10
J
K
0
5
4
J
5
K
7
2
5
5
3
9
10
5
0
5
6
10
8
6
Q
3
6
6
A
9
Q
4
3
7
6
N/S -150
13

Evidently "Texas after Stayman" is not a convention the robot is familiar with. After a "normal" 1NT, the robot put me straight into 4H. In the end, after shortening myself in an attempt to draw trumps, I gambled everything on the diamond finesse in order to try and keep par with the 4S bidders. Wrong; I went down three, for 26.5%.

This hand caused a lot of problems around the virtual room. Down three in either spades or hearts was quite common. Some people ended up in 2D down three. If I had just accepted down two I would have scored 52%. This hand is interesting to study for the widely varied auctions and results. Watch the playthrough of the person who actually made 4H; it's a hilarious example of the robot compressing as many tricks as possible.

Robot
65
AQ3
Q2
1087653
Robot
Q84
J1072
K43
K42
Robot
K10
86
J1098765
J9
Sterman
AJ9732
K954
A
AQ
W
N
E
S
P
2NT
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
2
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
6
4
10
J
3
1
0
A
2
3
J
3
2
0
A
8
2
9
3
3
0
Q
10
K
J
1
4
0
2
6
9
3
3
5
0
K
A
7
8
0
5
1
Q
10
10
4
0
5
2
Q
K
5
2
1
6
2
8
K
A
5
3
7
2
3
3
Q
7
1
8
2
11 tricks claimed
N/S +650
10

"Standard" 2NT opener led to a 4H contract. A friendly spade lead picked up that suit for me. I needed to get to the dummy to try a heart finesse, so I had to use my only entry - overtaking the Queen of clubs with the King. The computer made the peculiar play of ducking the first heart, leaving me befuddled about the layout. I tried to smother a theoretical Qx of trumps on my right but it didn't matter. I ended up making five without a sweat.

This was worth no less than 95% because so few people were willing to overtake the Queen of clubs with the King in order to take the spade finesse.

Robot
A104
KJ10874
A9
95
Robot
K
93
KJ1084
KJ842
Robot
965
Q62
532
Q1073
Sterman
QJ8732
A5
Q76
A6
W
N
E
S
1NT
2
2
P
2NT
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
3
2
A
3
1
0
6
A
4
5
0
1
1
K
9
Q
5
0
1
2
10
K
6
2
0
1
3
7
2
7
3
0
1
4
8
4
5
7
0
1
5
4
8
3
7
0
1
6
A
8
9
8
0
1
7
4
10
6
J
3
2
7
6 tricks claimed
N/S -150
9

Emboldened, I opened another "standard" 1NT. The computer tried Minor Suit Stayman, then showed me it had a stiff spade. I should have taken the hint and bid diamonds, but instead I bid 3NT. This had no prayer on a heart lead. I just had to hope the robots would block the heart suit, but they actually managed a successful unblocking maneuver. Down three was 13.3%. 5D was usually down two, which would have been 32%. Opening and insisting on spades would have led to a positive result cause of the friendly spade break; indeed a few people bid and made 4S.

Robot
J105
J42
J10653
62
Robot
9
AQ1075
K72
Q1095
Robot
AK843
AQ984
873
Sterman
Q762
K9863
AKJ4
W
N
E
S
P
1
2
6
P
P
P
D
4
6 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
2
5
9
2
0
1
A
6
J
7
1
1
1
2
4
8
6
3
2
1
3
J
A
9
1
3
1
12 tricks claimed
N/S +1430
4

Over partner's 1H opener, East bid 2H, Michaels. I moused over various bids and none seemed exactly right. In the end I stuck with my "wild" style and just blasted 6H. The robot North had a perfect hand and I made 6H easily. This was worth 87.8%.

Robot
KJ43
J1052
KQ875
Robot
5
AQ9643
A943
32
Robot
Q107
K7
6
AJ109874
Sterman
A9862
8
J102
KQ65
W
N
E
S
1
3
3NT
P
P
P
D
5
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
Q
K
8
2
0
1
Q
A
4
5
3
1
1
J
Q
A
6
1
2
1
2
A
5
5
2
2
2
10
2
3
3
2
2
3
7
8
K
4
0
2
4
J
A
7
2
1
3
4
3
7
Q
8
3
4
4
K
7
3
4
3
5
4
10
K
4
J
0
5
5
5
9
8
6
1
6
5
6
10
6
10
0
6
6
J
9
9
9
0
6
7
N/S -300
13

East was again in the auction, overcalling partner's 1H with 3C. It's funny; because I had 10 HCP, I *knew* everyone around the table had 10 HCP. I decided to hope that our 20 HCP were better positioned than their 20 HCP and gambled 3NT.

Nope. The KH was unexpectedly offside and the robots annoyingly shifted to spades. I ended up down three, and under the circumstances was glad for my 31.1%.

Really, knowing that all four hands were distributional with 10 HCP should have dissuaded me from my 3NT bid. Those who just passed 3C and collected undertricks did quite well. I should have made that decision, "wild" style or no.

Robot
J9743
K84
J3
QJ6
Robot
Q105
10932
52
K532
Robot
A
Q76
K1074
A10874
Sterman
K862
AJ5
AQ986
9
W
N
E
S
1
X
1
2
P
4
P
P
P
D
6
4 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
2
3
5
2
0
1
A
9
6
2
2
0
2
4
6
J
K
1
1
2
2
7
J
K
0
1
3
4
10
6
6
2
1
4
Q
A
4
3
3
2
4
5
8
9
7
1
3
4
Q
10
8
J
1
4
4
2
4
Q
3
3
5
4
K
9
3
7
3
6
4
A
J
5
K
3
7
4
9
7
5
10
2
7
5
8
8
Q
10
1
8
5
N/S -100
13

When the computer chose to freely bid 2H, I felt that I should raise to 4H even with only three. The fact that the computer would do this with a flat five-count absolutely befuddled me. Dejected, I went through the motions, got soft defense, and ended up down "only" two. Surprisingly this was worth 58.9%. 4H undoubled down two for -100 is better than the 3C+3 for -110 some defenders allowed, and lots of people went down three or more in heart contracts.

I was beginning to suspect that the "wild" style might not be so hot if the standard of play is this widely varied.

Robot
Q9
KQ943
A32
QJ8
Robot
KJ653
108
J94
A95
Robot
84
65
K10875
10743
Sterman
A1072
AJ72
Q6
K62
W
N
E
S
 
1N
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
7
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
8
6
A
3
1
0
A
9
3
4
3
2
0
2
Q
K
8
1
3
0
10
5
2
Q
0
3
1
4
5
5
7
3
4
1
J
9
4
7
3
5
1
2
J
A
3
1
6
1
9
10
K
Q
3
7
1
6
8
5
4
1
8
1
6
8
10
2
3
9
1
6
3
J
K
2
9
2
7
Q
A
9
0
9
3
3
J
10
7
1
10
3
N/S +620
13

"Standard" 1NT followed by a "super-accept" led to a 4S contract. The KH lead was very nice, and it only remained to draw trump and knock out the Queen of hearts. Making four was 72.3%.

Robot
105
K1053
J987
AQJ
Robot
Q94
J84
K54
10984
Robot
876
62
A63
K7653
Sterman
AKJ32
AQ97
Q102
2
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1NT
P
P
P
D
8
1NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
7
4
A
2
2
0
1
6
7
K
4
0
0
2
5
J
2
9
1
1
2
8
3
A
10
3
2
2
Q
3
4
6
3
3
2
10
J
K
3
1
4
2
5
6
Q
9
3
5
2
2
5
Q
8
1
6
2
9
7
A
10
3
7
2
K
Q
4
5
3
8
2
J
8
8
6
3
9
2
3
J
9
7
3
10
2
2
A
10
K
0
10
3
N/S +180
13

Okay, this time my "standard" 1NT was pushing things too hard. On a diamond lead and heart shift, I risked the heart finesse because I needed to keep parity with the spade contracts. This worked when the robots didn't cash their five club tricks and I emerged with ten tricks. Still only 47.8% because lots of people made 4S on typical robotic defense.

Robot
76
J87
K764
Q542
Robot
A54
1032
AQJ1053
7
Robot
K109
9654
82
K983
Sterman
QJ832
AKQ
9
AJ106
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
1
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
4N
P
5
P
6
P
P
P
D
9
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
7
4
K
2
2
0
1
9
Q
6
5
3
1
1
9
7
10
8
1
2
1
A
2
6
4
1
3
1
3
9
3
6
3
4
1
A
5
7
9
3
5
1
10
2
A
3
1
6
1
5
5
8
K
3
7
1
J
7
2
10
3
8
1
A
8
3
6
3
9
1
K
J
10
4
3
10
1
Q
4
J
8
3
11
1
J
Q
Q
K
2
11
2
N/S -50
13

Argh. I bid aggressively to 6S and had to make it on a spade lead. The winning line is to fly the Ace of spades, take the diamond finesse and ruff two club losers while pitching the other one on the Ace of diamonds.

Instead I decided to play for Kx or Kxx of diamonds onside. Nope! Dejectedly I ruffed a club and cashed out for down one.

Again, I was surprised to get as high as 26.1%. People went down two or three in 6S. Lesson: Even if you find yourself in a hopeless contract, there's still value in limiting your undertricks. Even -300 might be worth something.

Robot
9864
106
Q9
109765
Robot
QJ105
K987
543
KQ
Robot
AK73
AJ32
762
84
Sterman
2
Q54
AKJ108
AJ32
W
N
E
S
1
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
4
P
P
P
D
10
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
Q
K
2
2
0
1
7
J
Q
3
0
0
2
9
4
6
A
3
1
2
2
5
Q
8
1
2
2
7
3
Q
6
3
3
2
4
10
K
A
2
3
3
4
3
10
K
1
4
3
8
J
5
6
2
4
4
2
8
6
5
3
5
4
K
9
5
2
2
5
5
7
J
9
10
1
6
5
9
3
10
7
1
7
5
J
A
A
8
2
7
6
N/S -300
13

This hand was all about me taking an extremely wild shot after getting a bad result. I'm actually fine with the 1NT overcall, believe it or not, but bidding 2H hoping a 4-3 heart fit would play well is just dumb. When the Queen of diamonds ended up doubleton offside I mentally threw up my hands. I ended up down three, -300. All I had to do was bid 2D, denying a four-card major, and the robot puts me in 3NT, which I make easily even if I misguess diamonds. I turned 90% into 0% with one bad bid.

Robot
84
Q53
QJ742
K96
Robot
Q1053
AJ42
A6
1087
Robot
J96
K10987
K9
Q43
Sterman
AK72
6
10853
AJ52
W
N
E
S
1
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
11
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
A
9
3
1
1
0
6
K
5
7
2
1
1
3
2
K
7
0
1
2
6
8
Q
A
3
2
2
A
8
3
6
3
3
2
2
4
Q
9
1
4
2
5
J
K
3
3
5
2
10
J
10
7
1
6
2
A
9
6
5
1
7
2
2
K
7
Q
3
8
2
8
4
4
10
3
9
2
J
9
10
4
3
10
2
5
2
J
8
3
11
2
N/S +450
13

Not strong enough to bid 1NT, I decide to bid 1S instead. I quickly accepted the invite.

The robot found the odd lead of the Queen of diamonds from QJxxx. I won the Ace, noting the fall of the Nine on my right, and returned a diamond, thinking to set up a cross-ruff. When the King of diamonds showed up on my right, my Ten-Eight of diamonds were now equals against the Jack.

The robot shifted to a club, which I ducked, and then continued clubs, setting up my club suit. Wonderful. No need to cross-ruff now; I drew trumps, took the ruffing finesse against West, and ended up with eleven tricks. (Don't pay attention to the fact that I forgot to unblock clubs and was rescued from my stupidity by a three-three club break.)

This was a complete top, 100%. Those who opened a minor and ended up in 4S didn't get the robot's trick-compressing Queen of diamonds lead.

Robot
A3
A654
Q87642
5
Robot
65
Q82
K95
KQ872
Robot
9874
J10
A103
10643
Sterman
KQJ102
K973
J
AJ9
W
N
E
S
1
P
P
X
P
1NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
12
3NT North
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
3
A
2
0
0
1
Q
K
A
J
2
0
2
10
2
2
5
2
0
3
3
10
6
9
1
1
3
2
4
A
5
3
2
3
J
4
7
3
3
3
3
9
3
K
10
1
4
3
Q
6
J
6
1
5
3
8
9
Q
5
1
6
3
Q
10
7
8
1
7
3
8
7
9
7
3
8
3
K
4
5
8
3
9
3
K
A
6
4
0
9
4
N/S +600
13

After 1D-P-P, I reopened with a double. When the robot bid 1NT I was quick to raise to 3NT.

A diamond lead tears this contract to smithereens, but the robot opted for the Jack of hearts lead. West grabbed the Ace and shifted to the Queen of diamonds, smothering my Jack. The robots could still set me by returning a spade to West's Ace and leading a diamond through my Nine.  Instead, East cashed the Ten of diamonds and led a diamond to the Nine.  I ran clubs, and the heart discards ensured that I had three heart tricks coming as well.  In the end I made nine tricks without ever scoring a spade trick. +600 was worth 90.9%; people who started bidding their suits rather than making a takeout double found themselves declaring heart partials.

So, playing "the wild way" netted me 54.15%, which is good enough for 2,366th place out of 7,881 entries. I'm irked because I could have guessed the 6S contract better and boards 5 and 10 were completely unnecessary blunders.

I'll check in tomorrow with the "up the middle" results.

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