Join Bridge Winners
NABC Online Individual - Day 1
(Page of 13)

After having played the practice individuals I thought that mostly good bridge would let me score somewhere in the 65-70% range without needing much crazy, so that was my plan for the NABC individual this time.  I was playing from Toronto shortly past midnight each night, and I'll go through the 4 session looking at the more extreme hands (both good and bad). I'm sharing the more extreme hands, rather than all of the hands, to help make it easier to write and read the article and under the assumption that "weird" actions that work would be in the top 25% of scores and "weird" actions that don't work would be in the bottom 25% (but so are many "normal" hands as well), so it should be clear that the missing hands are more down the middle bridge than this set, even if this set is mostly down the middle.

 

Here are the individual hands I played in the first individual session that scored at or above 75% or at or below 25% in the robot individual.  I mostly felt like I was playing "normal" bridge, with much fewer of the "robot" plays that some of the other early previews had done (fewer, not none), and as many of the strange actions was driven by the "best hand" rules than just desire to throw sand in the eyes of the robots.  

 

First hand out of the box:

 

Robot
AQ85
J83
106
10875
Robot
J10
A10
Q95432
A94
Robot
K943
75
J87
K632
Mbodell
762
KQ9642
AK
QJ
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
1
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
10
2
7
A
3
1
0
2
3
A
5
1
2
0
10
7
K
J
3
3
0
Q
8
J
6
3
4
0
K
6
3
8
3
5
0
13 tricks claimed
N/S +510
5

With both red suits behaving this seemingly straightforward hand at my table scored 82% for 4+3.  

The traveller for the hand was:

4HS+3 10 510 82.00%

4HS+2 1 480 60.00%

4HS+1 1 450 56.00%

4HS= 3 420 48.00%

1NN+6 1 270 40.00%

3HS+4 2 260 34.00%

3HS+1 1 170 28.00%

4HS-1 7 -50 12.00%

 

So what was going wrong on the other hands?  First of all, if you bid 3 over 1NT instead of 2 you'd get a 4 cue bid, and then regardless of if you cue 4 or just bid 4 the robot gets off to the spade lead instead of the diamond lead, and now you aren't going to take all the tricks.  In addition, the computer switches to attack clubs and forces out the A and now many players try to pitch the third spade on the Q after cashing two rounds of hearts and suffer the ruff for down one when West has the 3rd heart.  So is 3 or 2 over 1NT the right bid.  2 is described as 12-16 total points and 3 as 16-18 total points.  We have 15 HCP and a 6322 shape, so that might be 17 total points for the 2 doubleton points; however, the QJ tight certainly isn't worth a full 4 total points and AK tight of diamonds might not be the best 8 total points either, so 2 at matchpoints seemed better to me.  It probably could have gone either way, but if you always went aggressive with robots you'd probably choose 3, but this time the more conservative bid was rewarded this time.

Second hand involved slam bidding with the robots, and did involve me bidding NT with the stiff K, here 2NT with the 20 count 3154 hand that was not a robot special as I may well do this with a human player too:

Robot
8653
J85
75
Q842
Robot
109
AQ9642
KQ2
65
Robot
QJ74
1073
864
K103
Mbodell
AK2
K
AJ1093
AJ97
W
N
E
S
 
P
2N
P
4
P
4
P
4N
P
5
P
5N
P
7N
P
P
P
D
2
7NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
10
J
A
3
1
0
K
5
2
3
3
2
0
3
5
K
8
1
3
0
A
7
7
8
1
4
0
Q
10
9
J
1
5
0
13 tricks claimed
N/S +2220
5

At my table partner transfered me and bid blackwood showing 12+ total points, and then confirms all the keycards and the Q of hearts.  With that much strength I took the risk that there would be 13 tricks in NT.  I knew that if partner has AQxxxx (and an outside entry) opposite my K that we'd have 6 heart tricks a little over a third of the time, plus some of the time we might have the T or 9 and have the higher cards on the short side (I.e., AQTxxx with J in the 2 of a 4-2).  In addition 40% of the time my partner has the J, in which case we have 6 tricks 95+% of the time (3-3, 4-2, plus the 1/3 of the time we have the T, etc.).  Plus, some amount of the time my partner has 7 hearts.  So overall I think hearts run somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 of the time.  With partner having 12+ total points, of which at most 7 are in hearts odds are very good my partner has at least 1 if not more of the Q, K, and K which would be the outside entry plus points.  While I could be stuck, my hope was there would be enough outside tricks to come to 13 some of the time directly, and some of the time I might have to rely on a finesse or squeeze - possibly after playing for the drop in one suit.

We hit the worst possible heart holding and near the minimum points for partner, but becau