Saturday, November 21, 2009

Surrounded by robots

I've been playing online in ACBL Individual Robot Tournaments at BBO. The bots often don't defend well against notrump contracts, but they can be surprisingly effective versus suit contracts.
J 9
A 9 4
Q 7 3
8 6 5 4 3
A K 5
Q 10 8 3
9 8 6 2
Q 10

You are defending as East. The bidding: There were three passes to South who opened 1. Your partner overcalled 1, dummy bid 2, you raised to 2, and South ended the auction with 3. Partner led the 3 to your king. Now what?

If partner had the A K, they would have led that, so declarer is marked with a singleton ace or king. You need to switch to a heart, but which heart?

Actually, East was a robot, and it shifted to the 10. Here are all four hands:

J 9
A 9 4
Q 7 3
8 6 5 4 3
8 7 6 3 A K 5
K 5 Q 10 8 3
A J 10 5 4 9 8 6 2
9 7 Q 10
Q 10 4 2
J 7 6 2
A K J 2

I covered with the jack, West played the king and I won the ace. After drawing trumps, I exited with a spade. East won, led to West's A, and it led another heart through dummy's 9, down one. Notice that it doesn't do any good for me to duck the K. To make my contract, I have to know that East is making a surrounding play and withhold the J. Deep Finesse says that then I can make it.

The bot made what is called a surrounding play. I'm surprised it found that. Why doesn't my robot partner make nice plays like that when we're on defense? You can read more about surrounding plays here or here.

Down one was a score of 38.29%. You can see all the scores if you click here.


  1. You'll be happy to know that I play Hearts on the computer. And I usually win.


    To someone like yourself that's probably comparing a real cowboy riding a real horse to a kid dressed up like Roy Rogers riding a hobby horse.

    Heh. Heh. Have a great day and stop writing on the back of your truck!

  2. Umm, Mojo? I think you and I are supposed to be in Arkansas right now...I'm so sorry! I forgot all about it! I guess you did, too, since I didn't get a reminder email. Oh well, we will catch up soon! :)

  3. @Jacob: Hearts is a fun game

    @jusdealem: you're right, I forgot. I might still go. It's 12:30, & I'll be leaving soon. E-mail me if you still want to go.