Details for bridge - 9-6-2019

BRIDGE

The robots
made a
surprising error

By Phillip Alder
Jimmy Carr, an English
comedian, said, “A surprising
amount of my jokes sound very
implausible but are true.”
As regular readers know, my
wife and I play against robots at
Bridge Base Online. Sometimes
the robots play so well that I
wonder if they are being permitted
to peek at their partner’s cards!
But much more often, the
programmer seems to have
forgotten to include a particular
bidding or play technique in the
program. (To be honest, though, the BBO robots work by simulation.
They generate deals that would have been bid and played as has
happened in the actual deal. They see which action works best over
the sample and do that. This makes them imaginative. For example, I
have seen several singleton leads against three no-trump.)
Even so, the play at numerous tables on this deal surprised me.
What should have happened in four spades after West led the club
nine?
Over two spades, South might have rebid three hearts, which would
have gotten his side to a makeable four hearts. He might also have
tried two no-trump with those strong doubletons. That would have led
to three spades or four spades.
West leads what East knows is a singleton. So, East wins the first
trick and gives his partner a ruff. Also, anyone who has been around
the block two or three times knows that East’s lead at trick two is a
suit-preference signal, telling West where East’s re-entry lies.
Every robot led back the club four, low asking for a diamond shift!
Every human returned the club seven, high asking for a heart back.
Isn’t that surprising?
© 2019 UFS, Dist. by Andrews McMeel for UFS

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